Environmental Affairs Technical Officer

The FAI is committed to protect the natural environment and to encourage its members to take environmental protection into account when practising air sports. You will find below its Code of Conduct.

Protecting the environment has always been an important concern for CIVL and we first appointed a Technical Officer for environmental issues in November 2005. Some early proposals have been agreed and are being implemented (see below Environmental questions and nature protection )

Technical Officer for the Environment is Thomas SĂ©nac (France).

Environmental questions and nature protection

Protecting the environment questions is a real concern in most countries and can impact paragliding and hang gliding pilots.

These concerns are growing as our sports become more popular and the number of pilots and accessible sites continues to increase. Among all aerial sports, paragliding and hang gliding have specific issues to address. Even if we avoid motors to fly (exploiting wind and sun), there remain some concerns about protecting natural sites and the impact of our activity on the environment.

For example, our take-off and landing sites are, in many cases, located in the countryside, often in remote and beautiful areas. Sometimes the construction of access roads, take-off ramps, and increased traffic to these summits are regarded as destructive, an intrusion, and a disturbance to wildlife. When a site is used often for launching or landing, the impact on the natural vegetation can be heavy.

In some places, we fly near or above natural protection parks, and the real (or perceived) disturbance to protected fauna can be a big concern. In others, we share the space with the birds and often fly near their nesting places.

We also share nature with other users, like hunters, who might have different opinions about what needs to be done to protect nature.

And last, but by no means least, Administrations (States, Regions, Counties…) have their own environmental priorities, that might conflict with ours.

What to do?

Up to now some subjects have been studied by different associations separately and independently. It is better to work together, and to share ideas and costs.

The aims of CIVL's environmental initiative is thus:

  • to contact national associations to identify relevant persons
  • to build a net of competent people who will work together through e-mail
  • to list our environmental problems, exchange our knowledge and experiences, collect specific legislation, assess the situation in each country, compare the ways we deal with problems...
  • to help the countries where no experience exists.

We could also study :

  • the life cycle of different material, in cooperation with the manufacturer (for example fabric, from petroleum to the dump)
  • the global impact of our sport on the environment.

We will contact the FAI Environment Commission and take part in meetings at this level and with other authorities.

Later, if needed, CIVL might consider subsidising scientific studies, along the lines of those undertaken in France, Germany, UK and elsewhere, looking at whether birds are truly disturbed by hang gliding and paragliding. This work could be done by students to lower the cost.

Of course, the aims of this project are not fixed in stone and will develop according to the ideas of members.

Events Calendar


Check out the calendar for all FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding events.