I know many of you will have worked with Steve Penfold in our team as one of our tax experts. Steve has been competing in the British National Hang Gliding Championships, which were held in Ager (a small Spanish town about 100 miles northwest of Barcelona). This is the main event of the UK hand gliding calendar and will decide the British champion. We are pleased to hear he did really well and came 5th - his best result yet! Hopefully, he will be selected to the British Team to compete in the European Championships next year.
Steve learned to fly whilst he was in the British Army, in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), and he soon progressed to flying competitively. Steve loves flying and continues to compete - over the years he has competed throughout Europe (including Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal).
The British National Hang Gliding Championships is always held outside of the UK, as the weather and flying conditions on the continent are usually better. That said, Steve has flown in some memorable UK competitions when the weather was just right – flying 100 miles from Shropshire to Aylesbury, or from mid-Wales over the top of the big Welsh mountains to land on the coast at Rhyl, for example.
A hang gliding competition involves flying a course, which is usually between 70 and 200 km long (depending on the conditions), to get to a particular goal. Points are awarded for the proportion of the course completed, and those who get all the way to goal will get additional points for speed. If the weather permits, one task is flown each day, with up to 1,000 points available per task, and the pilot with the most points becomes the British Champion. This year's British Nationals were flown over 7 days.