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Flyability features on BBC Countryfile

In May BBC Countryfile worked with Flyability to allow TV presenter Steve Brown to experience paragliding. Steve is a wheelchair user and former captain of the 2012 GB wheelchair rugby squad.

As part of Countryfile's Spring Special, Steve met artist and BHPA member James Lynch, who uses his paragliding experiences in paintings of land and skyscapes, in his Somerset studio. The BBC contacted Flyability for help, and they in turn brought in Flying Frenzy's Andrew Pearse (www.flyingfrenzy.com) who has wide experience of paraglider buggy flying.

Filming took place on Friday May 4th at Swyre near Weymouth. Despite light winds Steve was able to experience short flights using the Sanderson buggy.

Flyability has been helping all sorts of disabled people, not just those with physical disabilities, to fly hang gliders and paragliders for over 20 years. It offers scholarships for disabled people to have tandem taster flights and train to fly within BHPA schools, loans of specialist equipment and sharing information and advice on adapting flying to make it accessible to disabled people.

To find out more please email contact@flyability.org.uk, or telephone 07973 834939.

Posted: 5 July 2018
By: Paul Dancey


David Cook anniversary

David Cook Piloting a modified Volmer VJ 23E hang glider Copyright Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SAMay 9th marked the 40th anniversary of David Cook's pioneering 1978 cross-channel flight on a modified Volmer VJ 23E hang glider.

Despite a modest 9hp engine - less than half the power used by Blériot's on his 1909 crossing - David achieved the seemingly impossible, touching down near Calais after over an hour in the air to be told by a startled local, "All English people are crazy!"
Duckhams-sponsored Volmer VJ 23E hang glider Copyright Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester / SSPL. Creative Commons BY-NC-SA
David's Duckhams-sponsored machine is displayed at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (well worth a visit in its own right). He went on to design the remarkable Shadow microlight - nearly 400 built - and returned briefly to foot launched flying in 2013 to test fly Andrius Rudd's home-built VJ-23E.

David was also one of the very first east coast hang glider pilots, at the core of a group who pioneered the East Anglian cliffs and dunes back in 1974. We are ever in his debt.

Posted: 8 June 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Reckless paramotoring

Not for the first time, multiple reports are coming in regarding reckless paramotor flying around nature reserves, SSSIs and wetland habitats such as inland reservoirs. Many of these reports mention persistent nuisance and extremely low flying.

This time of year is particularly sensitive as most bird species are breeding and can be easily frightened into leaving their nests. Power pilots are reminded that the RSPB and other nature reserve operators are extremely well organised and their members own powerful binoculars and very good cameras. In addition, quite apart from any nuisance aspect and complaints, a bird strike over a reservoir could be awkward.

Flying in such a manner is of questionable legality; the CAA's current enthusiasm for prosecuting leisure pilots should be noted. If you are paramotoring in such a manner, please desist. If you know people who fly like this, please educate them as to the recklessness of their actions. It is a shame that paramotoring will be judged by the thoughtless actions of a few, but that is the way it works!

Posted: 8 June 2018
By: Paul Dancey


The Lakes Charity Classic

A reminder that the 2018 Lakes Charity Classic runs at the Grasmere Showground on July 14th - 15th.

As well as the competition itself, the ever-popular coaching groups will run on both days. Alternative bad-weather tasks are planned, plus plenty of free activities and lots to do for non-flying family and friends. The site includes an indoor bar, toilets and showers, plus wi-fi and good phone coverage.

On-site camping is available (fees are extra) and there's local accommodation nearby. Flying activities are also planned for the Friday and Monday. Full details are available on the Cumbria Soaring Club website. The LCC sells out quickly - don't delay!

Posted: 8 June 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Mid-Wales sites reminder

The Mid Wales Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club would like to respectfully remind all pilots that although the area has many tantalising and attractive-looking hills, we do not have permission to fly them all.

Before flying any hill that may not appear in the site guide please contact the Club. There are many reasons why flyable-looking hills are not Open sites, including the fact that the hill may be under negotiation, or that the landowner requests that people don't fly there but has given the Club permission to fly other hills owned by them.

Just turning up and flying jeopardises any current and possible future arrangements the Club may have.

Posted: 29 April 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Parafest update

Tickets are selling fast for this year's Parafest (July 27th - 29th), which promises to be bigger and better than ever.

Llanbedr is a 600-acre former military airfield, right next to the beach yet with Snowdonia's free flying sites only a short drive away. There will be a substantial traders' area, plus winching by Green Dragons - who will also be offering accuracy training and competition flying - and Airways Airsports, and aerotowing from the Malvern Aerotow Group's FoxTug.

Llanbedr's mile-long runway means pilots of any aircraft type are welcome to fly in. On the ground, top-level live-music attractions include Liverpool Britpop legends Cast, the Alabama 3, the Karpets and Echo Town. The biggest pilot party the UK has ever seen is more than just a fly-in. It's a festival you can fly at. Details and ticket sales are available on the Parafest website.

Posted: 27 April 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Icarus X-Series SA

Eugene Cussons - Icarus X-Series SAThe Icarus X-Series, a spin-off from the Icarus Trophy, the world's longest paramotor race, comprises four shorter format stand-alone race events in the US, UK, Australia and South Africa.

13 contestants took off near Hartbeespoort Dam north of Johannesburg at the end of March to pursue a 340km course over two days, with checkpoints at the Vaalkop and Buffelspoort dams before heading back to the start.

South Africans Alard Hufner and Bruce Askham led at the end of Day 1, but gusty winds slowed competitors on Day 2 and put Bruce out of the race. Alard used the opportunity to take the lead and, missing the worst of the weather, crossed the finishing line first, ahead of Eugene Cussons (pictured).

Alard wins a place in the 1,000-mile Icarus Trophy proper at the same location on July 25th. The UK X-Series race starts on Friday June 29th; details are available on the Icarus Trophy website.

Posted: 27 April 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Alex's 6 Peak Challenge

Alex Colbeck - 6 Peak ChallengeDales Club adventurer Alex Colbeck has set himself a new challenge, a UK first.

His brainchild is the 6 Peak Challenge: climb and fly from the well-known 'three peaks' of Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon and the the three Yorkshire peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-Y-Ghent. All this inside of 24 hours!

Starting at Ben Nevis, using Niviuk equipment, Alex plans to take in Scafell Pike before tackling the Yorkshire peaks, finishing at Snowdon. The challenge will involve 15,000ft and 17 miles of climbing and around 11 hours of driving - achievable on paper but never done before. Already in training, he hopes to attack the challenge this month as soon as a weather window opens.

He is planning to raise money for the British Tinnitus Association and Yorkshire Air Ambulance; to help him reach his £1,000 target please visit the Six Peaks in 24hrs website.

Posted: 27 April 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Skywings news last updated: 4 September 2018 at 08:39:52 PM

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