Human powered aircraft and paramotor championships taking place at Manston airport site

Paramotor championships Photo Lynne Orgovanyi

Two flying events are being held at the Manston airport site .

The Icarus Human Powered Aircraft Championship runs from 24th June until 2nd July and the 2023 British Open Paramotor Championships takes place from 28th June to 2nd July.

The Icarus Human Powered Aircraft Championship, running concurrently with the paramotor event, will use the Manston airport runway.

The Icarus Cup was donated by the Royal Aeronautical Society, with the first competition held in 2012. Along with the cup, a prize of £1,000 goes to the winning team and £500 to the runner up. To enter the contest, aircraft must be heavier than air yet able to be propelled solely by the physical efforts of the pilot.

A series of tasks are available, and the teams elect to fly as many of these, and as often as they wish, in order to score points. Challenges include distance, speed, and slalom courses along with the Jacobson figure-of-eight, a highly demanding task completed for the first time in the UK at the 2018 contest by Niall Paterson.

Photo Lynne Orgovanyi

The paramotor championships involves pilots taking off from the airfield and flying up to 40 km over several hours to ‘collect’ turn points, before returning to base.  Paramotors are the lightest form of powered aviation. The aircraft comprises a paraglider-type wing and a small motor and propeller, worn on the pilot’s back. The competition is primarily a long-distance navigation challenge (much like aerial orienteering).

Photo Tracy Anderson

There will be plenty of action to see at the airfield, particularly in the early evenings, when pilots will be performing ‘precision flying’ challenges. Details of the arrangements for the event will be published in the main competition marquee and on the event website

Competition flying will finish by last light on Saturday 1 July. The prize giving ceremony will be held at noon on Sunday 2 July, where the top scoring British pilot the title of British National Paramotor Champion 2023 will be awarded.


  1. There is still a runway and green spaces there. 😱😱. These things won’t happen if the ‘No to Manston’ brigade have their way, unless of course the house’s have big gardens.🤣🤣🤣

    • Rheproposal for the site by Stone Hill Park would have kept the runway as a heritage feature.
      It would have been ideal for events like thos being described, and the light aircraft event a couple of weeks ago.

    • ‘These things’ aren’t going to happen with a 24/7 freight hub. There are going to be several large aircraft coming and going each hour.

  2. This is what Manston needs to be – an aeronautical centre for all things aviation! It can earn its main income from cargo air traffic, but also include do much more. Those nay-sayers should say nothing else could be done at Manston if it was an operating airport merely display their ignorance of aviation (they are probably proud of??). The weather and conditions here are ideal for all kinds of aviation from the ultra-light to commercial heavies!

    • It clearly can’t earn its main income from commercial aviation. It tried in the past, and failed (twice), losing over £100,000,00 in the end (KCC report)
      How on Earth can paramotor and human powered aircraft compete with “commercial heavies”? The wing vortices produced by an aircraft such as a Boeing 747 would scatter smaller craft all over Thanet.

      • How about facilitating the creation of good quality, well paid employment. People then will not need social housing. How about enabling people to do for themselves rather than helping them to be poor? Far better than people needing help and benefits to get through life

        • Perhaps “Ad Astra” does not know why social housing is now so reduced in number that councils are having to use it mainly for people who are homeless or living in overcrowded conditions. Until the right to buy was brought in by Thatcher’s government, most social housing, if not all, was rented from the council by people with steady jobs.

  3. Andrew …If you read my post properly you will see I never mention specifically human powered flight and paramotor at the future Manston Airport Cargo Hub. Regular Light aircraft, motorglider and modern microlight will be well possible. But then I forget you are an aviation expert aren’t you, as well as an extremely rude and arrogant individual. You are also a stuck-up pompous pontificating git

  4. Also ‘Andrew’ you mention the SHP BS. Their proposed ‘heritage airstrip’ was in a north-south direction and between buildings. What a load of cobblers! It was all a pathetic sham …In the nightmare scenario of SHP having had their way, it would have progressed, then oh dear what a shame we can’t do that anymore …we will have to just build more houses. I don’t know where you are talking about, but I don’t remember a Manston Airport that was ever invested in properly before that ‘failed’ ??? I remember a purposefully run down under-invested shameful land-grab by a connected bunch of shysters. At least this time if has plenty of investment going in, state of the art installations planned, and proper facilities for enough cargo aircraft for it to work. So rest assured, your fears are groundless

    • The Heritage runway would have utilised the existing E-W runway.
      KCC, in particular, invested hundreds of thousands of pounds in trying to promote new routes from Manston.
      As to it being purposefully run down” the current CEO of RSP was in charge at Manston at the time.
      And it doesn’t matter how many aircraft stands or hangars or aprons you build: you’ve got to attract business, too.

    • Manston has been owned and operated by four different owners. They all lost money on the venture. Are you suggesting that all these groups deliberately ran it at a loss?

  5. The fact is that a human powered flying event is taking place at Manston Airport, as well as the paramotors. That just goes to show what outstanding aviation weather conditions we have in Thanet and East Kent! Both are fragile, very weather dependant ways to fly – particularly the former. Yet more reason for Manston to be put to use for aviation! It is a waste. to not do so!

    • I have no problem with Manston being used for light aircraft and so on. But I don’t think an exposed hill top on the coast is a location with the most ideal conditions for parameters and so on.

  6. great to see manston AIRPORT being used , but no doubt some locals were trying to get it stopped or banned

    • I have not seen any articles about anyone trying to stop these small paramotors. No doubt you can point to some sources or do you not actually live in the ‘real world’.

    • There is indeed Phil, at least one in Sandwich who’s taken to social media to let his feelings be known!

  7. Andrew: No heritage runway if houses had been built. That was a ridiculously false claim by SHP. The CAA would never grant a licence for any planes to land so close to a housing estate.

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