What are the awards?
The British Open Paramotor Championships are open to all paramotor pilots, British and foreign, who meet the minimum skill level requirements for the competition class in which they wish to compete. But the event is called ‘Championships’ (plural) because there are in fact several different competitions running concurrently, for different aircraft, and different skill levels of pilots.
Having various classes and subdivisions like this enables pilots to compete in a fair and safe way against pilots of comparable skill level and aircraft capability, and we hope it encourages new pilots who don’t feel ready for full ‘pro-level’ competition to attend anyway and develop their skills without feeling undue pressure to perform in circumstances too far out of their comfort zone. But for the uninitiated, this structure can be a little confusing, so hopefully this article will clarify.
The British Open Championships and British National Championships
The main British Open Championships are based on the standard international paramotor competition format and rules, as defined by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). They are called ‘Open’ because pilots of all nationalities are invited to compete and are eligible for trophies. We have however adapted how we deliver the FAI format in the UK specifically to enable more flying hours during the competition, less briefing hours, and more strategic pilot decision making – changes that we believe make the event a lot more enjoyable for pilots. Within these Championships, pilots may enter in one of three classes of aircraft:
Solo footlaunched paramotor (PF1)
Solo trike paramotor (PL1)
We regret that due to insurance requirements we are unable to offer tandem entries at this time.
For each of these classes to be valid there must be a minimum of 4 entries in the class. If this condition is not met, it is customary in UK national competitions to include those pilots who do enter into the primary PF1 class scoring.
The British National Paramotor Championships comprise a parallel scoring stream to the same competition, but only for British pilots. This enables us to crown the British National Paramotor Champion (as the highest scoring British pilot), and it is from this scoreboard that the British Paramotor Team is selected for international competitions.
All pilots entering this class must have a BHPA Pilot (power) rating (or international equivalent). For insurance purposes, international pilots are required to take out a 3 month trial membership of the BHPA (see details on registration form).
Read about Jack Yu’s experience of entering the championship for the first time in 2018
(Article reproduced courtesy of Skywings/BHPA)
Since 2016, the ‘Discovery Class’ has been developed in British paramotor 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 flown without GPS.
Discovery pilots are fully integrated into the main competition tasks as much as possible, whilst providing appropriate modifications to improve accessibility for the newcomers to competition. The tasks provide a framework that should enable discovery pilots to develop their skills, confidence, and enjoyment in competitions, without pushing them beyond safe limits of their experience level.
The primary difference for discovery pilots is that they are permitted to use GPS for navigation, and are not subject to restrictions on the use of smartphones or other navigation aids. They are also not required to make pre-flight declarations (although they may do so if they wish), or to switch off their engines at 500ft for precision landing tasks.
Entries to the Discovery Class are limited to PF1 (solo footlaunch paramotor) only. All pilots entering this class must have a BHPA Pilot (power) rating (or international equivalent). For insurance purposes, international pilots are required to take out a 3 month trial membership of the BHPA (see details on registration form).
Read about Fahri Ozdemir’s experience of entering the Discovery Class in 2017
(article reproduced courtesy of Skywings/BHPA)
New in 2020, we introduced a class through which Club Pilots in training, looking to develop their skills and attain their BHPA Pilot (Power) rating have the opportunity to achieve this through attending the championships, participating in some tasks specifically designed for their level of experience, building their logged airtime hours, and learning from some of the most experienced pilots in the country.
This class is overseen by Competitions Committee member and highly experienced paramotor instructor Andy Shaw, the CFI of Green Dragons paramotor school. There will be a number of theory revision seminars given during the period of the competition to support the navigation tasks that will be set in the mornings and evenings.
Pilots in this class are subject to the same rules as the Discovery class in that they may carry any GPS or navigation aids that they wish to. But they differ from Discovery in that they will be flying bespoke navigation tasks designed to match their experience level as defined by the official BHPA Training Manual, and separate from the main competition for safety reasons.
The class is scored in a ‘friendly’ format and trophies will be awarded. Pilots will register in teams of 2, so that you fly with a ‘buddy’ and you can plan tasks together. This reduces pressure on pilots because only the best one of your two scores will count for each task, but we think it is important to have the scoring to give you a gentle taster of the excitement and rewards that paramotor competition can bring. If you are a CP pilot wishing to come along and don’t have a team partner, don’t worry! Let us know and we’ll make sure we arrange it.
On the final day of the event, CP pilots will be given the opportunity to sit the written exam for their Pilot (Power) rating, overseen by Mark Shaw of the BHPA.
All pilots entering this class must have a BHPA Club Pilot (power) rating, and have logged their first few solo airtime hours. If you think you are ready to compete in this class, please discuss it first with your club coach in advance. We will require evidence from them of your flight logs from your BHPA training manual.
Taking the Pilot (Power) exam at the event is optional. You are encouraged to take the online mock exams on the BHPA website to help decide if you are ready for this: https://www.bhpa.co.uk/sport/bhpa/mock_exams.php