Welcome to the 2017 British Open Paramotor Championships
This year the competition will take place between the 22nd and the 26th July, and will be held for the first time at Green Dragons Paragliding Centre, in Woldingham near Croydon. Our thanks go to Andy Shaw and his team for hosting the championship, and we're confident that it will be an excellent venue. You can find it on Google Maps here.
A fresh approach for 2017
In the last few years, in preparation for hosting the World Paramotor Championships in the UK in 2016, our national Open Championships have been modelled on the international task catalogue and approach, in order to test out our procedures and tasks, and to train our team pilots to this exacting standard. This paid off, with the British Paramotor Team being awarded Silver Medal on home territory, an outstanding result.
Whilst this worked well for training team pilots, we recognise that some of these tasks can also be a daunting experience for new pilots entering competitions. With WPC behind us, we now want to look ahead to the future of competitive paramotoring in the UK, and to rethink our approach to national level championships with a view to being more inclusive, accessible, and truly 'open' in the widest sense of the word - encouraging new pilots to join our competitive community and old friends to return.
To this end, whilst the core principles of most tasks will remain the same - they are, after all, designed to emulate real life flight scenarios to test pilot skills - there will be some shifts in emphasis, and some notable exclusions from the classic catalogue. In summary, these are:
- less emphasis on speed for navigation tasks, and more on precise, accurate map reading, and in-air decision making;
- removal of all 'pylon racing' type slalom tasks from the precision category;
- a return to the system of weighing of pilot+machine into and out of economy tasks, removing the requirement for 'comp' bottles and the risk of running out of fuel.
The full task catalogue can be found through our 'Championship Tasks' page.
We would also like to lay a greater emphasis on the 'Discovery Group' concept that we have been testing in recent years. This is a separate non-scored group, in which entrants may carry a readable GPS to help with navigation, and so can learn the ropes of competition without the pressure of scoring. New for 2017, the discovery group will be far more integrated to the main competition, and directed by the same director; additional briefings will be extended to provide strategy tutorials for new pilots on how to plan their tasks.
So please do come and join us, whether as a pilot, marshal, or just spectator. We look forward to seeing you there. Keep checking back to this website in the run-up to the event, as we will be adding more info as we have it.>>>
Barney Townsend, June 2017.>>
Event Director: Paul Smith (Chairman, British Paramotor Competitions Committee)
Competition Director: Barney Townsend (British Paramotor Team pilot and Competitions Committee member)
Chief Marshal: Andy Phillips (ex-national and international championship director)
Chief scorer: Colin Baker (Competitions Committee member and father of 'Boris' - internationally proven scoring software)
Green Dragons Paragliding Centre
Warren Barn Farm
Slines Oak Road
Surrey CR3 7HN
First competition briefing 9pm Friday 21st July
Competition flying 22nd-25th July, with 26th held in reserve in case of bad weather
Entry fees and costs:
Competition entry £50 per pilot if paid before June 30th or £70 thereafter
Free entry for pilots under 21, half price for first time competitors and discovery pilots
Additional camping fee to Green Dragons of £3 per person per night in a tent, and a further £5 for a camper van.
Showers and toilets will be provided on site.
Catering will be provided by Green Dragons, with a meals van service offering breakfasts, lunches, and dinners at reasonable prices! Details to follow here soon.
Other important links:
The competition will be flown primarily using the standard Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger map, scaled up to 1:66,666 and with overlaid detail to indicate airspace restrictions and competition task details. This scaling makes for a convenient measurement of 1.5 cm to 1km. The maps (without additional competition task details) can be purchased from Memory Map for digital download.
In addition you can download a Google Earth KML file of the competition area, and showing no-fly zones, through the following link:
The most essential people at the championship!
Don't want to fly the competition but still want to be part of the action? Please consider volunteering as a Marshal - we welcome your help!
Marshals are undoubtedly the most essential members of the entire event, and all of the pilots are universally grateful to the efforts they put in. We quite literally couldn't do it without them. This year, the Green Dragons local team will be managing and marshalling all aspects related to the site, and camping. We, as the championship organisers, need marshals specifically to help run the competition itself.
Marshalling is a great way to meet the competition community, and also to learn about the competition tasks in preparation for competing in the future. It’s a very rewarding experience, and it carries the additional bonus of free meals and camping at the event too.
Typical vital roles that marshals play are:
- monitoring and regulating the takeoff deck - ensuring that pilots take off in a safe and ordered manner;
- 'spotting' on precision tasks - green flagging pilots for entry, and providing vital eyes to mark and record exactly where 'first touch' was on a spot landing, or operating the stopwatch for timed aspects of tasks;
- overseeing pilot fuel weighing in and out for economy tasks, and the quarantine processes associated with that;
- scrutineering paramotor aircraft for airworthiness and competition rule conformity;
- helping collect land-out pilots if necessary (we'll cover any fuel costs of course);
Don’t worry if you have no previous experience – our expert Chief Marshal Andy Phillips (ex-British team pilot, national and international competition director) will give you all the help you need.
Alternatively, are you a spreadsheet guru? We could certainly use your help in the scoring cabin instead of on the airfield!
If you'd like to register as a marshal, please use the same registration form as the pilots and select 'other > marshal' in the 'pilot or marshal' field. That way we have all your contact details, and Andy will be in touch.
Thanks in advance, from all of the organisation team and the pilots!
Competition taster experience
In recent years, the ‘Discovery Group’ has been developed in British national competitions as a means by which new pilots can get a taste for competition, and develop their skills without committing to the full intensity of officially scored tasks.
New for 2017, and acting on feedback from previous Discovery pilots, rather than running the Discovery group as an entirely separate event as we have done previously, we intend to integrate the group within the main competition tasks as much as possible, whilst providing appropriate modifications to improve accessibility for newcomers. With no formal scoring, Discovery pilots can of course choose not to fly any task you are not comfortable with, but the task catalogue for 2017 provides a framework that enables Discovery pilots to fly the aspects of the main tasks that will help to develop your skills, confidence, and enjoyment in competitions, without pushing you beyond safe limits of your experience level.
Whilst there is no official scoring, discovery pilots will all carry an AMOD GPS logger (provided by us) as do all competitors; where possible within the discovery modifications, their tracks will be input to the scoring system in order to give us data to feed back to pilots as a training aid. We intend to run feedback sessions during the competition to talk Discovery pilots through the tasks you have flown, with insights from experienced team members on how to improve your performance.
Discovery pilots will therefore be under the same directorship as the main championship, and will participate in all task briefings. Each task will be briefed with a ‘Discovery Option’ as a variation to the full task; the specific modifications are detailed with each task in this catalogue, but can be summarised as follows:
Discovery pilots may carry a normal GPS for navigation. You will not be required to make any pre-flight declarations, and durations of flight tasks will be shorter.
Discovery pilots do not need to switch off engines for landing tasks, but are encouraged to idle them instead. You do not need to kick the timing sticks in wing control tasks.
Discovery pilots may carry a normal GPS for navigation, and durations of flight tasks will be shorter.
Please read through the task catalogue carefully and note the adaptations that have been made to tasks to accommodate Discovery pilots.
So I hope we've convinced you that if you're not sure you're ready for full competition yet, but want to develop your flying skills, the Discovery group is for you! There is no better opportunity to challenge yourself, learn from some of the top paramotor pilots in the world, and set a trajectory for your skills such that in a few short years time you might be one of those sky gods on the podium at an international championship!
Barney Townsend, July 2017.