Final plans now underway for the 2023 British Open Paramotor Championships (28th June to 2nd July) and the Icarus Human Powered Aircraft Championship, which begins this weekend (24th June and 2nd July).
Paramotors are the lightest form of powered aviation. The aircraft comprises a paraglider-type wing and a small motor and propeller, worn on the pilot’s back. The competition is primarily a long-distance navigation challenge (much like aerial orienteering), in which pilots will take off from the airfield and fly up to 40 km over several hours to ‘collect’ turn points, before returning to base.
There will be plenty of action to see at the airfield, particularly in the early evenings, when pilots will be performing more local ‘precision flying’ challenges. Details of the arrangements for the event will be published in the main competition marquee at the event, and on the event website Home – British Open Paramotor Championships (ppgcomps.co.uk)
Competition flying will finish by last light on Saturday 1 July. The prize giving ceremony will be held at noon on Sunday 2 July, where the top scoring British pilot the title of British National Paramotor Champion 2023 will be awarded.
There will also be exciting action from the Icarus Human Powered Aircraft Championship, which will run concurrently with the paramotor event and use the Manston Airport runway.
The Icarus Cup was donated by the Royal Aeronautical Society, with the first competition held in 2012. Along with the cup, a prize of £1,000 goes to the winning team and £500 to the runner up. To enter the contest, aircraft must be heavier than air yet able to be propelled solely by the physical efforts of the pilot.
A series of tasks are available, and the teams elect to fly as many of these, and as often as they wish in order to score points. Challenges include distance, speed, and slalom courses along with the Jacobson figure-of-eight, a highly demanding task completed for the first time in the UK at the 2018 contest by Niall Paterson.
All pilots are qualified either in the UK by the BHPA, or the foreign equivalent, and are fully insured. On the official flying days, paramotors will fly no earlier than 07.00 and no later than 21.30. A number of local ‘No-Fly Zones’ will be applied over nearby villages. For locally based tasks, the number of pilots in the air at any one time will be carefully regulated so there is not a concentration of aircraft circling the area around Manston.