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Paragliding in the lockdown? Flier draws ire for taking to the skies

PUBLISHED: 12:43 20 April 2020 | UPDATED: 15:16 20 April 2020

A paraglider was seen in Norfolk during the lockdown. Picture: Supplied

A paraglider was seen in Norfolk during the lockdown. Picture: Supplied

Archant

Paragliding enthusiasts should refrain from taking to the skies during the coronavirus lockdown, the official body for the sport has said.

A paraglider in Norfolk during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SubmittedA paraglider in Norfolk during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Submitted

It comes as a paramotor - a powered paraglider - was seen flying in Norfolk on Saturday, prompting criticism from someone whose house he flew by.

Warren Jones, who saw the paramotor in the air over Grimston and Pott Row near King’s Lynn, said it was not the first time it had happened.

Mr Jones said: “Once again my evening was disturbed by someone flying a paraglider near to my house.

“The activity is so blatant, noisy and obvious I cannot understand why the police have not managed to stop him.”

Simon Bailey, Norfolk’s chief constable for Norfolk, said paragliding was not an activity that could be considered “necessary or essential”, and so should not be done.

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Marc Asquith, chairman of the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association (BHPA), said after the lockdown was announced: “The prime minister’s statement [on the restrictions] has made it clear that we are essentially in lock down. Our efforts to keep the door ajar for a few pilots have therefore come to an end.

“There is no way that BHPA executive can support the concept that any travel in order to go flying is in any way necessary.”

Mr Asquith repeated the association’s stance after the National Police Chiefs Council and the College of Policing last week released guidelines about what reasons for leaving one’s home were and weren’t ‘likely to be reasonable’.

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He said: “The Civil Aviation Authority guidance on recreational general aviation flying has not changed.

“And as yet, we are seeing no change in public perception of people engaging in what they perceive as risky activities.”


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