SPORT FROM THE P:AST: Hang-gliding record is broken

Former Boston United keeper Paul Bastock receives a guard of honour in 2001 as the club marked his testimonial with a match against Peterborough United. United won the match 2-1. Bazza made more than 600 appearances for United.
Former Boston United keeper Paul Bastock receives a guard of honour in 2001 as the club marked his testimonial with a match against Peterborough United. United won the match 2-1. Bazza made more than 600 appearances for United.

As a British Airways jumbo jet pilot, Javan James was no stranger to being up in the clouds.

But it was his hobby - not his day job - which hit the headlines in 1983.

That was because the 34-year-old smashed the Lincolnshire unpowered hang-gliding distance record.

Flying from Belchford to Humberston, using thermal lift only, he recorded a flight of 20 miles.

To put his achievement into context, the previous record was eight miles.

That record, which was set by Graham Lammiman of West Keal, also set off from Belchford’s 70ft hill.

He reached the former Mamby Airfield.

And both flights were done using the same hang-glider - a Magic III.

“It was a good day for the flight,” said Mr James, a Boeing 747 pilot.

“But stubble burning made for poor visibility.

“I managed to attain a height of 3,300ft over the coast, but I had to put aside any thought I had about crossing the Humber because of the visibility.”

However, his hopes of crossing the river weren’t dampened, as he added: “I would certainly like to have a shot at crossing the Humber next time.”

On breaking the record, Mr James had been hang-gliding for seven years.

However, he was quick to point out that the flat nature of much of the county led to him being unable to compete with distances made elsewhere.

In Wales, for example, take off points could be as high as 1,000ft-plus.

Mr James, from Stickford, was greeted on touchdown in Humberston by a large crowd, gathered on a caravan site, which was being used to house a circus.

“I was delighted by my reception,” he recalled. “But I was even more grateful to the helpful gentleman who rushed off and brought me a much-needed cup of tea.”