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Skywings News - all non archived years

On top of the world!

Photo by Patrick Laverty taken on a previous flight over Snowdon

Dave Dewhurst travelled from Cornwall for the opportunity to fly over Snowdon at Parafest in July, arriving late on Wednesday to make the most of the best weather on Thursday. Testing the air in the afternoon he found it rough over the hills and stuck to the smooth air over the coast.

Taking off again at 17:30 he set off for the dark hills to the north, pushed along by a steady 14km/h breeze.

'Over the coast I had felt on top of the world cruising about at 3000ft, but here at the same altitude I was still somehow below the top of the mountains. I felt small and vulnerable and contemplated turning back, but eased the bar out to gain as much height as possible until I finally reached 4000ft - just enough to sail right over the summit and see all the people standing at the top waiting for their train.

'Over the tops the air funnelled through a lot quicker than just a few hundred meters further back and I noticed I was absolutely gushing along. When turned I could just about penetrate - about 10km/h groundspeed with the bar full bar in! I crawled southward, watching the shadows of the clouds whizzing by beneath, but later had time to play about over the hills behind Barmouth before my fuel got low. 

'If I learned one thing it's that I had put myself in a potentially tricky situation by not considering the venturi effect beforehand. If the engine had cut out it might have been difficult to get out in one piece. But I shall definitely have to do it again, perhaps with more sunshine next time and snow-capped peaks.' 

Posted: 10 December 2018
By: Joe Schofield


37-year-old glider airborne

Gary Dear flying a Highway SuperScorpion Hang Glider

On a clear autumn day in October, Gary Dear of the Wessex club took to the air at Monks Down on a Hiway SuperScorpion, built at Abergavenny nearly 40 years ago.

Gary bought the glider from a Bournemouth pilot who had flown it a few times and then stored it for 30-odd years. Close inspection revealed it to be in good condition other than a tiny tear in the sail near one tip.

Gary made an uneventful extended top-to-bottom shortly before sunset, remarking on its modest weight and easy handling He was assisted at launch by Brian Wood, a recent returner to the sport who had been the first British hang gliding champion in 1974.

Posted: 10 December 2018
By: Joe Schofield


Indonesia appeal

The earthquake and tsunami that devastated Palu in Indonesia

The 28th September earthquake and tsunami that devastated Palu in Indonesia had dropped from the headlines before it became clear that seven paraglider pilots had been killed there in a hotel collapse.

32 pilots were staying in Palu for the Nomoni XC Competition, intended to celebrate the opening of a new launch in an area where paragliding has been strongly supported by the local authorities. Most of the pilots, of whom 20 were staying at the eight-story Roa Roa hotel which was completely destroyed, were from Indonesia, as were all of those killed, except for former South Korean team pilot Lee Dongjin, a DaVinci Gliders pilot. More than 2,000 people died as a result of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami; tens of thousands remain homeless and thousands are still missing.

On October 11th the Cloudbase Foundation launched an appeal, led by Brett Janaway, to raise $60,000 for the families of the seven pilots. Ozone were very quick to respond by immediately donating $15,000. At the time of writing over 140 donations have been made to take the fund at least a third of the way to its target. Funds raised will go directly to the families of the deceased pilots to help them through the difficult months ahead, and to assist injured and otherwise affected pilots in their recovery. A minimum of $7500 from the fund will be reserved to help the wider local community.

The Cloudbase Foundation assists free fliers to engage with their local community and accomplish altruistic goals though one-off events and longer term missions. By means of projects and grants, pilots integrate into communities in which they fly to develop strong relationships and stay connected to local needs. Pilots and supporters donate resources, time and talent to impact the communities in which they fly.

For more information, and details of how to support the Earthquake Support Fund, please visit The Cloudbase Foundation website.

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey


The Solent submits!

Richard Perkes leaving Ryde Harbour

After about five years with no reported Solent crossings, there have been three this year.

In June Jim Mallinson crossed from Portsmouth to near Ryde, having launched at Coombe Gibbett; on August 1st Richard Perkes crossed from Ryde to Gosport and on September 25th made another crossing from Yarmouth to Lymington; and on September 29th John Rudge crossed from Freshwater to Hurst. John finally landed on the Lymington seafront, from where he was given a retrieve back to Yarmouth by a local powerboat owner!

The photo, taken by Richard Perkes, shows him leaving Ryde Harbour in August.

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey


BHPA club night presentation

The BHPA has long been able to visit clubs with a presentation designed to explain to members how the Association works, what it can do what it can't, and where your money goes.

The presentation - in the form of an informal talk with Powerpoint support - explains who is on Exec and the FSC, what those bodies are about, who ­the various staff members are and what they do. It also covers the problems currently facing the sport, and the Association's notable successes, which are legion.

It's delivered by a locally-based member of the BHPA Executive and would be an ideal distraction for a winter club night. Several clubs have already availed themselves of this opportunity; if you think you club could benefit from learning a little more about how the Association supports its members, email marc-asquith@bhpa.co.uk or call 07802 525099.

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey


Farewell Jennie … and thanks!

Jennie Burdett, who retired on the 28 September 2018

On Friday September 28th Jennie Burdett, BAPC administrator since 1980 and BHPA administrator from 1992 - 2015, finally put aside her pencils, shorthand pad, keyboard, phone, database, and extensive knowledge of how the Association works to fully enjoy her retirement - since 2015 she had been working part-time at the Association's Leicester office.

Jennie began work as the BAPC's sole secretary, then based in a tiny office below a massage parlour, in 1980. As the BAPC acquired more staff it moved to larger premises in Talbot Lane, Leicester, and moved again to the Old Schoolhouse in 1991; both moves were overseen by Jennie.

The BHGA moved into Old Schoolhouse in 1992, shortly before the formal amalgamation of the two Associations. Jennie also supervised the most recent - and final! - move to the Association's new, jointly-owned premises at Merus Court in 2010.

Throughout this time she managed to keep abreast of every development and to keep the administration of a rapidly-growing organisation running smoothly. Always on top of things, always quietly efficient, often working in the evening and at weekends, Jennie was able to keep the show on the road through thick and thin.

Jennie's years at the helm never seemed to weary her and gained her many lifelong friends. Her quiet competence will be sorely missed. Her leaving was marked by an informal lunch attended by BHPA staffers and Chairman Marc Asquith, and by Andrew Wakelin - who first spotted her talents 38 years ago! 

Posted: 7 November 2018
By: Paul Dancey


RAeS design conference

RAeS Conference 2018This year's annual Royal Aeronautical Society Design Conference focuses on the lighter end of the GA world.

A fascinating programme of talks includes Dr Bill Brooks outlining the design and development
 of his recumbent/SSDR Flycycle; instructor Oliver Gibbs discussing wingsuit flying and technology; Mike Whitaker talking about his series of microlight designs;Norman Wijker of Samad Aerospace on developing a VTOL hybrid electric biz-jet; Guy Grattan on the challenges of electric vs. IC-engine power; and Ian Currer's presentation on foot-launched flight.

Martyn Ingleton, Chief Mechanical Engineer at BAE Systems, will also introduce his scaled-down WW2 Hurricane SSDR project. The conference will also examine the winning submissions in the RAeS's annual design competition; there will be panel discussions and plenty of opportunities for networking too. The event aims to examine the current resurgence of grassroots aviation, driven in part by new materials and electronics, and where it might lead. It takes place at Hamilton Place in London W1 on November 19th.

Full information and booking details are available on the Royal Aeronautical Society website.

Posted: 4 October 2018
By: Joe Schofield


Hang gliding - 55 years!

55th anniversary of the first successful flight of the modern hang gliderThe 55th anniversary of the first successful flight of the modern hang glider was celebrated on September 8th at Grafton, New South Wales.

An FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Diploma was presented to Pat Crowe, driver of the boat that first towed John Dickenson's remarkable design aloft back in 1963. At Grafton's old water-ski club, scene of the original flight, a small group of pilots flew vintage gliders including an original Dickenson Ski-Plane.

John Dickenson himself was scheduled to appear as special guest. Media photographs of the first successful flight circulated in October 1963. With John's Ski-Plane the leading edges, keel, cross-boom and triangular A-frame in aluminium tube, the control by means of weight shift via a pendular harness, and the ability to be folded down and transported on top of a car, all came together to form the template from which pretty much all subsequent hang gliders are descended.

John Dickenson was awarded the FAI Gold Medal in 2012; he had been awarded an FAI Diploma in 2007 and the same honour was conferred on the Ski-Plane's inaugural pilot Rod Fuller in 2012.

Posted: 4 October 2018
By: Joe Schofield


Skywings news last updated: 11 December 2018 at 09:08:04 PM

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