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 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 Paramotor 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 the following 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.
All pilots entering the British Open Paramotor Championships must have a BHPA Pilot (power) rating (or international equivalent).
The British National Paramotor Championships
The British National Paramotor Championships comprise a parallel scoring stream to the Open competition, but only for British pilots. It may also include scores from other British Paramotor League events held earlier in the competition year. 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.
The Discovery Challenge
New for 2023, we are combining the former Discovery and Club competition classes into one single group under the title ‘Discovery Challenge’. This pilot-development aspect of competition has been run in the UK since 2016 as a means by which pilots can get a taste for competition, and develop their skills without committing to the full intensity of officially scored tasks flown without GPS.
All pilots entering this class must have a BHPA Pilot (power) or Club Pilot (power) rating (or international equivalent).
The Discovery Challenge provides pilots with the opportunity to fly a limited selection of navigation tasks and turnpoints that are separate from the primary championship class map, with appropriate modifications to improve accessibility for the newcomers to competition, and under guidance from our supervising Chief Flying Instructor Andy Shaw. The tasks provide a framework that should enable pilots to develop their skills, confidence, and enjoyment in competitive flying, without pushing them beyond safe limits of their experience level. There will be a number of training seminars provided during the period of the competition, with input from some of the top pilots in the country, to support the navigation tasks that will be set in the mornings and evenings.
GPS is permitted for for navigation, and there are no restrictions on the use of smartphones or other navigation aids.
The challenge is scored in a ‘friendly’ format and trophies will be awarded.
Note to pilots with Club Pilot rating: On the penultimate day of the event, pilots at Club Pilot level will be given the opportunity to sit the written exam for their Pilot (Power) rating, overseen by Mark Shaw of the BHPA. If you think you are ready to join in this challenge, please discuss it first with your club coach in advance. We may request 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