17 January 2014

Beautiful video from Jean-Baptiste

Jean-Baptiste Chandelier has excelled himself again. This beautiful 5 minute video might be best bit of your whole day!  Click here to view "Touch"

13 January 2014

A new way forward for competition gliders

Many fine minds have been working away to try and untangle competition gliders from the EN Certification system. It makes sense: safety does not appear to have improved by making the best pilots in the world fly EN D gliders and there have been a whole raft of unintended consequences. The latest proposals from CIVL have a lot to commend them but are fraught with compromises demanded by bodies such as the EHPA (a body which represents the nation associations in Europe, such as the BHPA); the testing houses; the manufacturers; the Paragliding World Cup and the competitors themselves.
Some progressive thinking has brought in a range of good ideas such as:

  • Flight tests based on but adapted from the EN tests: irrelevant maneuvers dropped, pilot intervention allowed after 2 seconds, test flights done by the testing houses or by manufacturers overseen and analysed by the testing houses;, flight tests done in a pod harness.
  • Top speed limited to 65km/h
  • Fairly relaxed technical limits on aspect ratio
  • Some reduction in testing costs by requiring flights tests at the top end of the weight range only
It doesn't go far enough to help small pilots (or possibly very large ones). An earlier idea required flight tests on sizes around "medium" and other sizes scaled from there but not independently flight tested. This would have had the effect of making unusual sizes less expensive to produce, and so making it possible for more manufacturers to justify making out-lying sizes. However there has been a sufficient swell of opinion to require flight tests on all sizes. For example, currently and for the last 2 years, only Niviuk has catered for small pilots flying competition EN D gliders and I don't see much in the proposal which will help this to change. I am also personally unconvinced that the rules on lines will help give us line sets which last something like the life of the glider. Pity.
There have been a lot of cooks working on this broth, but at least it is a plausible way forward out of the uncertainty and negative consequences.
So should the CIVL proposal be accepted? Maybe a few tweaks are possible but even if not, I personally think that it should be embraced by us all and we move forward together.

07 January 2014

New Events: XC development with Flybubble

I am delighted to announce a new collaboration with Flybubble to offer a special event in the South of England. Actually it's two events over two days. Before the season properly starts, we are aiming to give pilots the best possible leg-up for their XC flying. Pilots can attend either or both of the days depending on what their needs are. Day 1 is the renowned XC workshop, refined and developed for 2014. It puts all the foundations in place for successful and rewarding XC flying. Day 2 is Advanced XC Skills, which picks up where Day 1 leaves off to build the skills and knowledge of the true advanced XC pilot.

The dates are February 24th and 25th, which due to heavy weekend schedules are a Monday and a Tuesday. We hope to see lots of you there. Book your leave now!
Many thanks to Carlo at Flybubble for making this possible.