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British Glider Pilots Hit By Crisis

The latest news from the BGA, which is on their website www.gliding.co.uk, is grim. Richard Yerburgh, spokesman for the BGA's Foot and Mouth Liaison Group, says as a guess it would appear that the Ministry for Agriculture, Fishes and Food will give the green light to local authorities for lifting restrictions on access to the countryside about six weeks after the last case. Though it looks as though this will be assessed from county to county with some areas possibly being freed from the restrictions earlier than others.

This means the ban will encroach on the beginning of the serious cross-country season with the first competitions, scheduled for late May, possibly being threatened. Apart from the frustration of stopping distance flights just when the weather is improving after a long, wet winter, it will have enormous long term effects from damaging club finances, stopping pilots planning to compete internationally from honing their skills (unless they fly abroad) to putting a damper on recruiting new members.

But obviously this is a small matter when compared to the suffering of the British farmers, who are now having to stand by while healthy livestock are being slaughtered to try ands top the spread of the disease, and those involved in the tourist industry. Thankfully the USA has been free of this virulent disease since 1929.

But glider pilots are inventive and not easily put off their sport. Already some clubs are devising competitions for mini-triangles where long distance flights may be achieved within range of base.

Posted: 3/26/2001 By: General News


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