competition hang gliding

Hang gliding is a competition sport in many parts of the World. Below is the information about the British national event.

The British Hang Gliding League was conceived by Brian Milton, not just as a competition series to decide the national champion but as a training ground for world beating pilots. It was not long before the results began to justify his vision.

It was 1977 when the first UK Hang Gliding League took place and it was a close run event. At the final in Wales the pilots had flown in poor conditions for three days, including fog, to complete slalom, 360 and spot landing tasks. Johnny Carr led going into the final round, but Brian Wood emerged as the winner after miraculously completing an astonishing fourteen 360s in a thermal! In an earlier round, Bob Calvert had flown 17 miles from Llandinam on a Hiway Scorpion, marking the beginning of XC competition tasks in this country. The pilot list from 1977 was impressive.

The League went on to become the model for other countries' national championships, the springboard for many internationally respected pilots' careers and the breeding ground for several victorious British teams. Once described by John Pendry as 'the hardest competition in the world' to win, the League, though changed almost out of recognition over the years, remained a tough, demanding and respected competition. Eventually the demands of the international competition scene made attendance at such a series difficult to achieve and the league split into a single meet national championships and the British Hang Gliding Series - which retains many elements of the original League concept.

The United Kingdom national hang gliding championships are held annually and, since 2000, separate championships have been held for Class 1 and Class 5 gliders. Some years ago the UK women's championships was combined with the Class 1 competition. Details of the trophies and winners can be accessed from the buttons:

The Alvin Russell Trophy
The Johnny Carr Trophy
The Percy Moss Trophy

The format, length and locations of UK national championships are decided and arranged by the hang gliding competitions panel. The Class 1 (flexwing) national championships and the women's championships were run as a series of competitions until 2001. The Class 5 (rigid wing) championship was a single meeting at a well known European site from 2000 to 2002 but did not run in 2003,4 or 5 and there are no firm arrangements for 2006; if one is organised the criteria agreed by the Competitions Panel must be met. The Class 1 championships has been a single meet since 2002. These meets will continue to be run in mainland Europe and are usually sanctioned as a FAI Category 2 competition and earns CIVL ranking points; in 2006 the venue will be St Andre les Alpes, Haute Provence, France and further details will be published as they become available.

To compete for the national championship title a pilot must hold an Advanced rating and be eligible to fly for the UK in a FAI Category 1 Championship - subject to CIVL eligibility criteria. To compete as a guest a pilot may be of any nationality but must hold a minimum of Pilot rating or equivalent standard. Rules and application forms can be downloaded from the documents page of this site.

There is a electronic mailing list for nationals pilots and other UK pilots flying as guests. Late breaking information and mail about lift sharing etc tends to go out on this. This is a private mailing list and to join send an email to John Aldridge requesting posting privileges.

Minimum criteria for National Championships

a. GPS flight verification to be used
b. GAP 2002 formula to be used
c. Race (latest version) scoring to be used
d. Minimum of five task days to be scheduled
e. Minimum task distance set to be 30 miles
f. Run to current year nationals rules
g. Appointment of an independent safety committee
h. To be self financing and non-profit making.