British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings News

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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

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

CAA nails Red Arrows infringer

The Red ArrowsA microlight pilot who infringed a Red Arrows TRA and caused a display to be halted was fined recently following prosecution by the CAA.

On July 9th last year Anthony Hope, 52, infringed the Temporary Restricted Airspace surrounding the Flying Legends airshow at Duxford. The Red Arrows broke off their display until Hope's Quik GT450 trike had left the airspace. Hope claimed to be aware of the NOTAM announcing the TRA and blamed his infringement on poor timekeeping.

At Luton Magistrates' Court in January he pleaded guilty and was fined £1,250, plus costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £125.

Posted: 7 April 2018
By: Paul Dancey

The BHPA Pilot Development Structure has arrived!

BHPA Pilot Development Structure The paragliding PDS site is now live, with other disciplines to follow, at It is aimed at all pilots from beginner to advanced, and all post-CP BHPA pilots have access to it. It works best in Chrome, Safari and Firefox (there is also a mobile version). To see how the system works, log in and view the short video help files.

The PDS has two primary functions - to present all the best currently available practice and advice arranged by topic; and to allow you to monitor and plan your own development in the sport, by providing each pilot with their own 'experience profile'.

A typical skill page has a description, video/diagram or podcast, issues and solutions, other useful resources, a feedback button and related skills. The exercise page has exercises for you to demonstrate that you have mastered the skill - and that usually means doing it competently, confidently and consistently in a range of different conditions. The idea is that the skill will become embedded, and doing it once on one hill doesn't achieve that.

When you complete the exercise in a skill page, that skill becomes hatched on your experience profile as displayed on the web page. As you complete the skills in a skill area, that area becomes increasingly hatched and the percentage completed increases. Each skill has an appropriate time limit, after which the hatching reverts, reminding you it's been a while since you last practised that skill. So the system helps you to track your currency - not in hours, but in skills mastered.

Your experience profile can also be customised, by summarising your experience and future aspirations in the sport in a few short questions, and your dashboard is reshaped to emphasise the areas most likely to be relevant at your stage of development.

All BHPA licensed coaches and instructors have access to coaching pages which provide guidance and tips on how to coach a particular skill. These are a collation of best practice from all our clubs and schools. If doing one of the exercises reminds you that you've never been too sure about something, have a chat with a club coach. With direct access to relevant tips from experts throughout our community, our coaches are well prepared to help out.

BHPA pilots have a huge range of experience and ideas of the sport and the PDS is intended to apply to all. Don't just 'push the button' - actually doing the exercise might just result in some minor breakthrough which could make you a better pilot!

Note: The PDS will always be expanding and lot of content is still being written and collated. To contribute please email

Posted: 7 April 2018
By: Paul Dancey

RAeC Awards

A number of Royal Aero Club awards have been made to BHPA members. Sacha Dench (Flight of the Swans) receives this year's Britannia Trophy; coast-to-coast paramotorist Giles Fowler the RAeC Silver Medal; former BHPA Technical Manager Mark Dale and Tony and Ioana Stephens the RAeC Bronze Medal, and aerotow pioneer Donald MacKenzie and BOS Club Class guide Mark Woodhams the RAeC Certificate of Merit.

This year's Ann Welch Memorial Award for excellence in instructing goes to Jocky Sanderson. Awards will be presented at the RAeC's annual ceremony at the RAF Club on Thursday 17th May. Congratulations to all concerned!

Posted: 2 March 2018
By: Paul Dancey

Last call for RAeC Trust bursaries

A final reminder that applications for Royal Aero Club Trust bursaries close on March 31st. The bursaries are of up to £1,000; last year the Trust awarded 50 of them to young pilots of up to 21 years - and previous winners up to 24 - to progress their flying qualifications and further their dreams.

Recent BHPA recipients include Theo Warden, 18, top Brit at the PWC Superfinal, and Jack Pimblett, also 19, 5th in the South African Pre-PWC in December. Theo received an RAeC Bursary in 2015 and Jack was a recipient in 2017.

If you are between 14 and 21 and financial assistance would help you progress, please visit the Royal Aeroclub Trust website. If you are a young BHPA pilot - apply now!

Posted: 2 March 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Parahawking in SpainScott Mason has relaunched his Parahawking venture in Andalucia, southern Spain, aided by a pair of Black Vultures that he has nursed from fluffy chicks to masters of the sky. Scott was operating in Nepal until the government closed the project down after 17 years.

Parahawking in Spain will offer the same unique experience of flying and interacting with trained vultures and other birds of prey. Scott's mission is to educate and inform about the plight of vultures the world over: "Our aim is the same to promote a connection with vultures and other birds of prey whilst providing a life changing experience."

A wealth of information can be found on the Parahawking FaceBook page, the Parahawking Twitter page, and on Scott's YouTube channel.

Posted: 2 March 2018
By: Paul Dancey

Icarus Cup

Icarus Cup 2018The Icarus Cup human powered flying event will take place at Sywell, Northants from July 14th - 22nd. A generous donor has allowed the BHPFC to introduce a new competition and prizes - the Jacobson Figure-of-Eight competition.

It is hoped that the extra prize money, now at £2,000, will attract more constructors.

The aim of the BHPFC, formed in 2014, is to promote human powered flying technically and as a sport (even, in the future, as an Olympic sport). The club's hopes its activities will encourage other countries to start clubs and hold their own competitions - since competing in two Icarus Cup competitions the University of Bordeaux has has now started its own club.

Rules, regulations, entry forms and all other details can be found on the BHPFC website. The Icarus Cup is not to be confused with the Icarus Trophy!

Posted: 2 March 2018
By: Paul Dancey

Skywings News Feed


last updated: 15 September 2021

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