Speed Flying With Zenspeed Flyers UK

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Speed Flying With Zenspeed Flyers UK

This is a mash-up of the flying this weekend. I am at 2:17 and 4:08. Most of the mounted video camera shots are of Mark Walton of http://www.zen-speedflyers.co.uk and you can see how good he is. Pay close attention and see if you can see the sheep he scared half to death! It was a great weekend. If you are located in the UK you must come by and fly with us. All are welcome whether you have flown before or not. There are no haters here. I drove 3 hours to fly with them!

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Hi Tim

thanks for posting, not sure how often Mark checks our website, so if need a quick answer you can catch him on his Zen Facebook page


or if you wish to register for the forum let me know - you can then contact/email other members directly  smiley



a wannabe Speed-Flyer (not verified)

Hi gguys I spoke to mark back last year about wanting to learn to speed fly. I still haven't got into it. I live in South Wales and see you guys fly up in north west England I'm not to bothered about a long drive to have some fun. I am a skydiver but only have 115 jumps with canopy sizes going down to 169 sqft. Would be cool to come up and see what the crack is. 


Submitted by: Anonymous



I have read your comments and would like to stress we are not being mavericks, we simply want to fly the hills and have fun in a safe way.
I have no problems with the BHPA at all I just think that they may need to look at people getting into speed flying from other avenues other than CP paragliding.
I have well over a 1000 skydives I regularly jump an 88 Square foot canopy (about an 8m2) I feel that I have all the skills needed to fly a speed wing of a similar size.
I would have so hesitation letting a trained skydiver fly small fast wings but would if a PG pilot wanted to fly.
I honestly cant understand how having people who fly large paragliders and have never flown anything this small can teach me or approve me to fly.

I would love to sit down with members of the BHPA and we could work on plans for approved training for speedflying (by speedflying I mean speed wings not mini gliders like bobcats etc)

As far as insurance I am in the process of organising a cover for myself and the guys I fly with, as we are not a bunch of untrained idiots and we want to do this sport safely and with back up.

We have a good relationship with most of the PG pilots where we fly and they have shown an active interest in the kits we use and it would be nice to build bridges further.
It would be nice to turn up at a site and there be a nice relaxed attitude from the PG pilots towards us as we go out of our way to be nice to them.

I look forwards to hearing from you




ubmitted by: RippTydde


Hey Gordie,

I agree with most everything you have stated here and I am actively trying to get my CP rating through the BHPA. My frustration is with the MANY elitist PG pilots I have met within the PG community. These encounters have actually diminished my spark and drive to be a PG pilot. Most of the speed flyers I have met here in the UK are parachutists and have no desire to become PG rated. They are a VERY tight knit group of people who stick together because they are considered outsiders. I am just tired of the poor attitude and false information that is spread by these individuals about the BHPA and flying regulations with the UK in an attempt to discourage those they deem unworthy. One would think that they would welcome more people into their ranks that could bolster their membership and their sport. I like your response when you said that PG’ers were looked at the same way when PG’s came on the scene. I hope you are right and that speed flyers will be accepted in the future. Until then I will still speed fly with fellow speed flyers while I “para-wait” for my CP. By the way, I have been “para-waiting” since June with the BHPA approved school I have paid to attend.




Submitted by: Gordie


Hay Guys,

Just wanted to post as a feel that you’re maybe being somewhat harsh on the BHPA. Firstly let me introduce myself, I am a keen speed flyer and paragliding pilot having flown for 20 years. I run my own (BHPA registered) paragliding school and have taught full time for 17 years. I am also the northern site officer for my local club 'Cumbria Soaring Club' a voluntary position that makes me responsible for managing free flying access to over 20 sites around the Lake District and northern Cumbria.

On the BHPA issue.. It is very easy to form opinions about any organisation which you may feel is compromising or trying to control your flying, just as it is easy for paraglide pilots to form strong opinions about people flying little wings if they have little experience of them. The same arguments raged when paragliding first appeared with the hang-gliding futurity, however over time pilots came to accept the benefits of each others aircrafts and differences were put aside, as I am sure will happen and infact already is with the paragliding futurity’s view of speed flying. The BHPA is a self regulating body for foot launch aviation, which does not try and control flying but promote it in a responsibly way. This is achieved by having a system of proven schools teaching the basics and then a supportive club environment where pilot’s skills can be developed whilst the club negotiates access to suitable flying sites for their members benefit. Due partly to the professional way the sport is conducted in the U.K. the C.A.A. allow a foot launch exemption, but by being a recognised organisation it allows us to lobby for our freedom to fly when often changes in U.K. air law threaten these freedoms we all hold so dear.

Insurance is another important issue with in free flying. Firstly lets be clear on the legal position of foot launching off private or public land. Once you strap on an aircraft in England and Wales (Scotland has more relaxed access rules) then you have no right of access to that piece of land unless you have express permission from the landowner. In other words even open hillsides included in the ‘Right to Roam Act’ access must be pre arranged other wise theoretically one is trespassing and could be dealt in the appropriate legal manner. Most suitable sites for flying have a local club who often go to great lengths to negotiate this access right with insurance forming a main part in any agreement. Clubs are therefore rightly protective over their sites and wish that as pilots we respect this and fly in a responsible way, which is in my opinion your duty as some one wishing fly and use these hills. It is only right that we were not included in the ‘right to roam act’ as unlike walkers and the like even one pilot on a hill side can have a big impact over that piece of land, disturbing farm stock and potentially causing disruption to the land owner/ farmer.

As for learning to speed fly there are infact a number of ways. I have trained and processed a number of pilots through the BHPA development pilot route. This requires people to learn to paraglide first and then gain 10 hrs paragliding experience after gaining CP qualification, when they can then get an endorsement to their licence which gives them full insurance benefit form the BHPA for speed flying. This allows me to prove to my landowners and local pilots that the new speed flying pilots are conducting the sport in a responcible manner and access to the hills can be open to all and site security not compromised.

SO please guys don’t try and be mavericks but open your attitudes a bit and hopefully you to will go on to reflect speed flying in the U.K. in a positive way rather then distancing your free flying brothers and who knows if there are any old stick in the mud’s then you may even win their respect.



Submitted by: RippTydde



No you don't need to be a member of ANY organization. The BHPA is a SELF regulated organization. There is no manditory license for either paragliders or speedflyers in the UK as of yet and don't let ANY PG'er tell you different. The UK government has made it manditory to hold any kind of certification yet and the BHPA has taken apon themselves to regulate the PG and HG side of things. The paragliding site you are talking about is probably owned or leased by the local PG club and they control who flies. Plus, most land owners require some form of third party liability insurance before you fly on their land which is all the BHPA is really good for. Be careful talking with PG pilots since most I have met here in the UK are very snooty and arrogant towards speed flyers because they feel we are not at their level. Also, I think some are jealous since us speed flyers are up in the air when it's too windy for PG's to leave the ground safely. You might want to research the France idea a little more. Some of the countries on the mainland actually regulate PG, HG and speed flying. I think France requires that a speed flyer be a certified PG'er and maybe even Italy, Switzerland and Austria as well. At this moment there is no regulation in the UK for PG, HG or speed flying since most who participate in these sports are responsible enough to do them safely and not give the government a reason to regulate. I HIGHLY suggest you contact: mark@zen-speedflyers.co.uk and see if you can make your way up there to get some instruction from him. I am an American living over here for a few years for work and thought that my speed wing would remain in storage until I returned to the U.S. I contacted Mark with Zen Speedflyers are I saw his YouTube videos and he invited me up. Those dudes were some of the nicest dudes I met since I moved to the UK and we had one **** of a weekend of flying. Mark is very willing to teach and help you out with a rig if you need one. I drove 3 hours north from Peterborough to go up there and fly with those guys and I don't regret a second of it. Also, I am planning on going back up there within the next couple of weeks and do it again. I am even thinking about selling my PG wing and buying another speed wing. Again, contact Mark. I promise you won't regret it.
P.S. Don't let the PG croud bully you around. They completely turned me off to PG'ing while I live in the UK.




Submitted by: Anonymous

Hi am keen to learn to speedfly to get some buzz back in my life. I was thinking of learning it in France and then have fun in my local hill on the South Downs; Brighton

In the UK to practice speedflying do we need to be members of the BHPA? At my local south downs paragliding site they are saying I need to get my club pilot licence and become a member of the BHPA. Hope you guys can help advise me.