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British Hang Gliding & Paragliding Association

British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association

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Skywings News - all non archived years

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


Forbes 2017

The 11th incarnation of the legendary Forbes Flatlands competition runs in new South Wales from December 30th to January 6th.

The FAI Category 2 tow-launched hang gliding championships is famous for its laid-back atmosphere, superb weather and and a warm welcome to newer pilots. The previous comp set a record 367km task, completed by eventual winner Jonny Durand in five hours, 41 minutes.

How good is Forbes? Visit the Forbes Flatlands website and find out!

Posted: 25 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey


Record paragliding task

Bruce and Tyr GoldsmiithA mammoth 224km task at the US Nationals in Chelan in July has become the longest paragliding task ever set. It was won by Josh Cohn (Enzo 2) in 4 hours 14 minutes at an average speed of 50km/h. Brit Harry Bloxham (IP6) came home in the lead gaggle only a few seconds adrift.

Richard Perkes and Bruce Goldsmith also made goal, as did Bruce's son Tyr (18) who went on to win the Sports class just ahead of Bruce. After the task Bruce is reported to have told Tyr (pictured, left), "You might as well stop flying now ... it doesn't get any better than that!" Josh Cohn went on to take the overall win.

The full results are available on the 300 Peaks Paragliding website.

Posted: 25 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey


Bache Hill closed

The Long Mynd club's popular flying site at Bache is now permanently closed to all flying. LMSC Chairman Nick Le Gras cites 'persistent failures to observe site rules' and 'selfish and thoughtless actions by a minority of pilots.'

The 600m southerly and south-easterly site near New Radnor in Powys has been the launching point for many epic flights and competition tasks. Alas no more.

Posted: 25 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey


Icarus Cup 2016

Sheffield University's VolaticusThis year's Icarus Cup contest for human-powered aircraft was held at Sywell near Northampton from July 16th - 24th. After a total of 52 contest flights Mike Truelove, flying the Edgley Aerocycle 3, was declared the winning pilot and presented with the Icarus Cup.

The RAeS-sponsored team prize was won by John Edgley's team. After several years of design, development and setbacks, the Aerocycle has emerged as a truly practical aircraft. In second place was Betterfly, designed and built by Mercedes-AMG F1 engineer David Barford. Bath University took third place with two flights but Sheffield University's Volaticus (pictured right) did not manage to leave the ground.

The Icarus Cup was started in 2012 by the RAeS HPF group to develop the art and science of human-powered flight. Competitions based on the RAeS model have now taken place in Korea and Japan and there is activity in the USA and France; there's also a strong possibility that the first FAI international human-powered flying event will be part of the next World Air Games.

Posted: 25 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey


Julian Robinson breaks Cavanagh record

A 103.22km triangle flight by Julian Robinson on June 18th has broken Mike Cavanagh's 100.7km paragliding declared triangle record. Julian flew his Gin Boomerang 10 from Carn Dubh via Aonach Mor and just north of Loch Eigeach.

Mike's record was set from Carn Liath in May 2014 on an Ozone Mantra M6. A month earlier, on April 17th, Kirsty Cameron flew a 72.46km declared triangle from Combe Gibbet on an Enzo 2 to claim the previously-unset UK women's declared-triangle record as well as beat Helen Gant's 2011 non-declared record.

Posted: 4 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey


BHPA membership tops 7,000!

BHPA numbers passed the 7,000 mark in June, a level not seen since early 2007. Membership peaked at just over 8,000 in 1996 and has dwindled more or less erratically since then until beginning to rise again four years ago.

The current strength of 7,064 annual members includes 5,166 rated paraglider pilots, 1,075 rated hang glider pilots (446 pilots are rated in both disciplines) and 524 power-environment paraglider (i.e. paramotor) pilots, plus a number of smaller categories such as instructors and non-flying members.

Hats off to the schools who do the lions' share of recruiting - long may the slow increase continue!

Posted: 4 August 2016
By: Paul Dancey


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last updated: 12 July 2021

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