Accrochez-vous! France signs up for 2009 Hang Gliding Worlds

Following the recent announcement that France has been awarded the FAI World Hang Gliding Championships in 2009, the Organiser Agreement was signed on 7 April on the Montagne de Chabre at a veritable Presidential Summit! The photo shows: front row: president of CIVL, Flip Koetsier, president of Chabre Vol Libre, David Owen and Louise Joselyn (treasurer, CVL). Standing: Jean-Claude Benintende, president of the Féderation Française de Vol Libre (FFVL), Réné-Pierre Gillain, president of Avolia and Bernard Kurtz (secretary, Avolia). The occasion was hosted by the local, departmental and regional authorities who are extremely keen to ensure the competition is a great success, assuring the organisers that they will be providing some considerable support for the event. Only last year they initiated a 700,000€ project to rebuild the access road to Chabre and make substantial improvements to the take-offs. New ramps have been installed on the north take-off and matting has been laid on the lower north and lower south launch areas. Speaking at the signing ceremony, Flip Koetsier commented on his special relationship with the Montagne de Chabre. He loves it because, in his view, it is one of the best hang gliding sites in Europe, with excellent tasks to be flown and many happy pilots. He added that the villages of Laragne and Ribiers have always offered a friendly welcome to pilots and a helping hand to competition organisers. The only downside is that, as meet director or FAI official, he has spent many, many hours in the blazing heat being buzzed by insects. To the delight of the locals, his speech was delivered in excellent French! Jean-Claude Benintende welcomed the opportunity to enhance France’s international reputation for hang gliding, and that of Laragne-Chabre in particular, emphasising the FFVL’s full support for the organising team. The FFVL also aims to take good advantage of the event to promote ‘vol libre’ to the young people of France and elsewhere. The Maire of Laragne, Mme Henriette Martinez, thanked the organising clubs for taking the initiative to launch the bid, something they had aspired to since running the European Championships in 1994, but had, until now, lacked the confidence and expertise to attempt. As eloquent as ever, Auguste Trupheme, president of the Conseil General des Hautes-Alpes, and long time supporter of hang gliding and paragliding in Laragne, expressed his confidence in the organisers. Chabre Vol Libre and Avolia have, over the last few years, both demonstrated their competence in running successful, international hang gliding and paragliding competitions. Check the CIVL competiton calendar (June 2009) for more details.