What is the BKFA ?
For many years, various members of the kite flying community had discussed the possibility of, and need for, a representative body for all kiteflyers. Whilst there are several excellent organisations speaking for particular groups or providing specific services within kiting, there was no single body that represented us all, including the more “extreme” variants of our sport/hobby such as kitesurfing and kite boarding. A number of meetings open to all members of the kiteflying community were held in late 2003 and the outcome was an agreement to form the British Kite Flying Association. This was subsequently ratified at a meeting in May 2004, and the BKFA came into being.
What are Our Aims ?
The main aims of the BKFA are:
- To be an elected representative body to unify all aspects of British kiteflying for the whole of the United Kingdom, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
- To achieve national recognition as a body representing all codes of kiteflying and to work with regulatory bodies and organisations to ensure that the interests of all kiteflyers are represented.
- To work with all other clubs, societies and associations throughout the UK to further thesport and pastime of kiteflying.
- To promote safe flying and to provide model codes for health and safety for clubs and kitefliers to adopt.
- To promote and raise awareness of all kite events throughout the United Kingdom.
How can I join ?
BKFA is an association of clubs. We welcome individual supporters but we do not have individual members. If you are a member of an affiliated club, you are represented on the BKFA. If your club is not a member of BKFA you may want to encourage your committee to consider joining.
How does it operate ?
Affiliated clubs send representatives to sit on the BKFA Council. The number of representatives is proportional to the size of the club, although there is a limit which prevents large clubs dominating the Council. Each year at the AGM, council members elect the BKFA officers and committee from amongst themselves by secret ballot.
What does it cost ?
Ideally we would like to have free membership, but we do need some money to keep the Association going! We aim to keep the running costs as low as possible by using electronic media whenever possible, meeting kitefliers at events throughout the UK and raising funds for specific projects rather than drawing out of association funds: We hope to attract trade sponsorship for educational publications for example. We raised specific funds in order to join the Royal Aero Club. Our basic running costs are met by fees charged to affiliated clubs. This is kept constantly under review and if we can attract sufficient support from other sources, our intention is to reduce those fees.
What have we done so far ?
Setting up a completely new organisation has not always been easy, and we have had some difficulties along the way! However, there have been a number of significant achievements.
- established the BKFA as an organisation.
- drawn up and ratified a constitution.
- created and published a comprehensive risk assessment system. This is available for anyone organising a kite event as a detailed starting point for their own risk assessment. We all know of the concerns over increasing litigation. A sound risk assessment process does not eliminate those issues but certainly goes a long way. Most successful prosecutions under health & safety legislation are because there was no suitable risk assessment and controls were not adequate.
- drawn up a kiteflyer’s code of practice. This will help flyers to fly safely and responsibly.
- affiliated to the Royal Aero Club. The RAeC can trace its roots back to 1901 and represents all aspects of amateur flying and air sports in the UK. Membership of the RAeC gives kiteflyers an important voice in matters affecting use of British air space. It also has strong links into the Sports Council, which could have beneficial outcomes for sports kite flyers in the UK and provides useful advice on regulation, insurance and other governance matters.
- affiliated to the Sport and Recreation Alliance. The Sport and Recreation Alliance is the "umbrella" body for all sports and activity based hobbies in the UK. Membership of the Sport and Recreation Alliance ensures that we can stay in touch with all manner of developments which might affect or ability to carry on our hobby. It also gives us a nationally significant voice in promoting the interests of kite flyers.
- undertaken a study of the aviation laws which have, or might have, an impact on kite flyers. Most of the regulations are contained within the CAA Air Navigation Order and and comprehensive analysis of this has raised a number of issues of interpretation. We are currently in discussion with the CAA to obtain clarification of these issues.
- obtained an insurance policy available to all those who belong to one of BKFA's member clubs.
What other plans do we have?
We have a number of “works in progress”:
- Kitemaker’s Competition - Britain has some of the world’s most talented kite designers and makers. We have run one competition at the Bristol and 'Edwardian' style competitions at the Wirral and Rougham. We intend to run more competitions in the future.
- Sports Council Recognition - Britain has consistently produced some of the best sport kite flyers in the world, yet their achievements have gone largely unrecognised in the sporting world. We have investigated achieving Sports Council recognition but at present it appears neither likely nor possibly desireable; the Sports Council expect a significant administrative overhead to be in position which may not be approriate to kiteflying. We will keep the situation under review.