British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

Skywings News

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Skywings News - all non archived years

RAeC Trust bursaries

Early warning that applications for Royal Aero Club Trust bursaries close on March 31st.

Last year the Trust awarded 50 bursaries to youngsters of up to 21 years to advance their existing air sport qualifications and further their dreams. New rules allow previous winners of up to 24 years to make further progress. The awards, of up to £1,000, are made possible by the generosity of the RAeC, the Peter Cruddas Foundation, the MacRobert Trust and the aviation-specific Bramson and Breitling resources.

Earlier this year BHPA members Ryan Jenkins (14) and Joe and John Ashman all received substantial cash support to pursue their flying goals, and in 2015 Theo Warden's bursary enabled him to pursue SIV training - and look what happened to him!

If you are between 14 and 21 and financial assistance would help you progress, please visit the Royal Aero Club Trust website. Every young BHPA pilot should apply!

Posted: 31 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

Kobo & XCSoar help

Nev Almond has put a website together to help with the basics of converting Kobos and using XCSoar. The Kobo Self Build section covers subjects such as the suitability of the various models, how to back-up the internal SD Card, how to dissemble, how to use the serial port, how to connect various instrument options, and finishing.

The XCSoar section covers how to get started quickly, how to connect to Kobo/XCsoar devices to add maps, waypoints or airspace, how to create maps, airspace, Notam and waypoint files, and how to upgrade. The website can be found at

Posted: 31 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

Foxtug starts towing

FoxTugFlylight's new FoxTug SSDR "nanolight" trike, first flown in August, made its inaugural hang glider tow flights at Croft Farm, Defford, home of the Malvern Aerotow Club, on September 19th.

Several flights were made with owner Donald MacKenzie at the controls and five different pilots on tow; no major problems were encountered. Average climb rates were from 8 - 1100ft/min, mostly to 2,000ft but on one occasion to 5,000ft in five minutes.

Tow speeds varied from 29 (flexwings) to 33 mph (rigids), a key attraction when most 582-powered XL tugs tow at closer to 40 mph; all the pilots involved said that the Foxtug transformed the experience.

More testing is planned and a pilot manual is being written. The FoxTug, purpose-designed by Ben Ashman at Flylight, uses a 65hp Rotax 582 and features electric CG-shift trimming, rapid folding, a compact hangar footprint and very low noise signature.

Posted: 31 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

France wins FAI World Aerobatics

François Ragolski, World Aerobatics ChampionThe 2nd World Paragliding Aerobatic Championships at Annecy ended on September 3rd with France taking the Gold medal ahead of Spain and Switzerland.

Solo World Champion is France's François Ragolski ahead of team-mate Tim Alongi, with Horacio Llorens of Spain in 3rd spot.

Women's solo Champion is Austria's Christina Kolb from Nicole Schmidt (Germany) and Lea Haensenberger (Switzerland).

Synchro Pair Champions are Spain's Rodriguez brothers; Théo de Blic (France) and Horacio Llorens were 2nd and Swiss pair David Geiser and Jérémy Péclard 3rd. 34 pilots, including eight women, from 16 nations competed.

Posted: 7 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

Flyer Live!

The Flyer Live show takes place at the Telford International Centre on December 2nd and 3rd. You'll be able to see the best GA aircraft and aviation kit that the UK has to offer, plus training, insurance, charts and much electronic gear. Ballooning, gliding, rotorcraft, the CAA and Flyer magazine itself will also be represented.

A series of Masterclasses will cover a wide range of topics, including the latest news from the Pilot Aware traffic system and current airlaw regulations explained in plain English. Tickets cost £8 if booked in advance (there's a discount for BHPA members) and £12.50 on the day. Details are on the Flyer Live website.

Posted: 7 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

Farnborough update

Farnborough Airport owner TAG are still looking for considerable controlled airspace (CAS) around Farnborough. Their first consultation document (Feb 2014) and its two associated reports (August 2014, July 2015) have been joined by another consultation document.

All four can be found on the TAG Farnborough Airport website.

This latest consultation closes on November 2nd 2016. Whether you responded to the previous consultation or not, please consider doing so to this one. An interesting study into TAG's July 2015 proposal can be found on the FASVIG website. The BHPA will be responding to TAG's latest consultation along pretty much the same lines as in 2014.

Posted: 7 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

FoxTug maiden flight

FoxTugFlylight's new FoxTug SSDR 'nanolight' trike, specifically designed to tow hang gliders, made its maiden flight on August 14th. Designer Ben Ashman reports that the aircraft performed as predicted with a very short take-off roll, excellent handling and an 'outrageous' climb rate of around 1600ft/min. Further test flights are planned and the first aerotows should be under way soon.

The FoxTug is a relative of the FoxCub nano-trike, but with much greater power thanks to its 65hp two-stroke Rotax 582 engine. It can be quickly folded to a compact size that takes up little space in a hangar, or put onto a trailer with the folded wing still attached to the trike. The new machine's electric CG-shift system allows it to fly at speeds matched to most contemporary hang gliders, from floaters to competition wings. The climb rate will be sufficient to tow dual gliders at a respectable rate and solo wings at 1000ft/min or more. Initial cost and ongoing maintenance will be substantially lower than those of existing aerotow tug types. It's also, Ben says, the quietest SSDR aircraft Flylight have ever built.

Ben Ashman flew the prototype to Sutton Meadows for the last day of the Cambridge Aerotow Competition. CAG CFI Charlie Richardson commented, "The FoxTug could change the size of field and hangarage required for aerotowing, making operations easier and cheaper. If what I saw is anything to go by, I'm guessing that a tug and glider combination could be off the ground in less than 150m and clear a 10m obstacle well before 200m." We hope to carry more news of this exciting project, including a flight test, in the near future.

Posted: 7 October 2016
By: Paul Dancey

Off-the-beaten-track podcast

We are often helped out - at home or abroad - when we land out or are involved in an incident. Can we give something back to the communities that we fly in?

In Judith Mole's latest podcast, Bella Messenger tells the story of the Cloudbase Foundation, and Karma Flights' work in Nepal in response to 2015's devastating earthquake. There are ways you can make a difference - whether great or small. The podcast is available on The Paraglider website.

Posted: 25 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey

last updated: 15 April 2021

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