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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

Tour de France urgent warning

The 2018 Tour de France runs from July 7th - 29th, with 21 legs all around France. The race and its preceding advertising caravan is overflown by several fixed and rotary wing aircraft at different altitudes. These include film crews, VIP flights, etc, based at the airports nearest to where the race stops overnight.

In mountain areas Temporary Restricted Areas (TRA) have been a rule for several years. In addition, the CNFAS (Conseil National des Fédérations Aéronautiques et Sportives) of which the FFVL is a member, strongly recommends avoiding flying over the Tour de France during the stages. It is also mandatory to respect air rules and the conditions of penetration of the airspace published in Notams, AIC or AIP Supplements.

The CNFAS is asking all air sports federations to circulate this document as much as possible in European countries so that pilots stay away from the race. In mountain regions the passage of the Tour may limit the operation of aircraft and even of the VFR 'See and Avoid' principle.

If all pilots behave well and stay away from the race the event will be a success and allow the CNFAS to obtain fewer TRAs and constraints in the future.

Full details can be downloaded from the FFVL website, and further information about the tour is available on the Tour de France website.

Posted: 5 July 2018
By: Paul Dancey

Buttermere Bash - higher than ever!

Buttermere 2018This year's 12th anniversary event was the most successful yet as gorgeous summer weather greeted the 800 people who attended. In fantastic flying conditions the valley filled with colourful paragliders who eventually floated down to the Buttermere shore.

The Bash is primarily a charity fundraiser, donating around £3 - £4,000 to local causes each year. Beneficiaries this year include Cockermouth Mountain Rescue Team, the Air Ambulance, Motor Neuron Disease Research and the community-led Fix the Old Coach Road project helping improve access to flying sites.

The Lakeland Charity Open, run by Jocky Sanderson and Al Westle, sent pilots racing from Dale Head and Skiddaw to goals many miles away. Local pilot Phil Kew was crowned champion and awarded the Tony Thompson Trophy, donated in memory of a local pilot who recently lost his fight against MND.

The event attracts some of the world's top acro pilots to perform jaw-dropping stunts. As a CAA-licenced paragliding display the Buttermere event can push the boundaries and several base jumps were conducted from tandem paragliders.

On Friday and Saturday evening flying displays were performed for the crowds. The Ospreys skydiving team dropped spectacularly from their plane at 6,000ft, carving through the evening sky to swoop along the lake and into the event base in style. They were followed by paragliding display pilots doing multiple high-G manoeuvres before bands cranked up and played the nights away.

Organiser Gordie Oliver: "Every year we feel that this was the best event yet. The fantastic weather, beautiful location and spectacular flying conditions, and some of the best bands in the north, mean that this unique event is the highlight of everyone's summer. Everyone leaves with a smile, new friends and happy memories."

Posted: 5 July 2018
By: Paul Dancey

RAeC Trust awards

Despite receiving fewer applications this year, the Royal Aero Club Trust has awarded 48 bursaries to enable young air sport enthusiasts to advance their ambitions. Widening the age range and adding follow-on awards resulted in an increase in applications in 2016 and 2017, but these fell off slightly this year.

Two of the bursaries were awarded to BHPA members: Isabel Mackintosh (17) of the SE Wales club will train to CP level and John Delves (17) of Green Dragons will pursue a paramotor conversion. It turns out John is a now Green Dragons/UP/Thermal Chasers sponsored pilot and is helping to form an official Air Cadets BHPA club under the GD umbrella.

Of the remaining bursaries, 17 were awarded to glider pilots and 16 to parachutists. Next year's applications close on March 31st 2019. If you are between 14 and 21 and financial assistance would help you progress, please visit the Royal Aero Club website. Every young BHPA pilot should apply!

Posted: 5 July 2018
By: Paul Dancey

Parafest reminder

Parafest 2018Final call for the Parafest festival at Llanbedr, North Wales, on July 29th - 29th. The event is on target to sell out again - there are only days left to grab tickets for the best event of the summer.

Parafest has everything for pilots and families to enjoy a great weekend: trade stands, tandem flights, winching, aerotowing, an accuracy comp, vintage hang gliders, BHPA revision sessions [and exams for existing and new members who seek a BHPA CP or Pilot (Power) rating], an airfield for powered pilots, plus local hill sites just a short drive away.

Top bands Cast and the Alabama 3 headline the main stage while a second indoor stage offers an alternative space and late-night bar. There will be festival food, real ales and cocktails, a kids area and fairground, plus glamping and hot tubs.

Four nights camping on the airfield, three days of festival, two days of live music, all right on the coast and next to the beach. What's not to like? Please visit the Parafest website for details and tickets.

Posted: 5 July 2018
By: Paul Dancey

BVHGR update

British Vintage Hang Gliding Rally 2018Many pilots will recall the first British Vintage Hang Gliding Rally in 2016. A brilliant way to meet old friends, eat, drink, get merry, sing, dance, laugh, reminisce and raise money for charity.

A promise made at the time was seven days free accommodation with Mark Taggart's family at Fly St André in France. This offer now tops the the prizes in the BVHGR raffle to be drawn at Parafest on Saturday July 28th.

The prize list can be found on the British Vintage Hang Gliding Rally website. Buy a ticket for £2 or a book of five for £10 - there are only a few hundred left - at the festival or by e-mailing stevepionk60@gmail.com. You and up to 14 odd mates could be swanning off to the south of France for some great flying and home cooking.

Posted: 5 July 2018
By: Paul Dancey

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

Skywings news last updated: 18 July 2019 at 11:37:29 AM

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