Windy weather affects PG Europeans in Austria

A few days after the late snow in Tegelberg, the weather in nearby Abtenau, Austria, hosting the European PG Championships, had improved, but only marginally. Three tasks were validated over the 12 day event. 144 pilots competed, including 15 women. Overall winner was Luca Donini from Italy. Top female pilot was Petra Slivova from Czech Republic, and Italy took team gold. According to Jury President, Vitor Pinto, most days had to be cancelled due to persistent rain, strong winds, low cloud base and thunderstorms. In addition to the three tasks flown (52, 62, 134km), two further tasks were set but cancelled before the launch opened, and one task was stopped due to storms developing on the route. (Photos: Martin Scheel, See gallery)

Concerns that the new season’s advanced prototype/uncertified paragliders combined with spring thermals in the mountains could impact safety, seemed to be largely unfounded. There were four reported incidents involving reserve parachute deployments, but none too serious. The organisers used a live tracking system, which is becoming widely regarded as an important mechanism to improving safety as well as providing an effective means of attracting a wider audience and increasing media interest in cross country competitions. It transpired during this event, that the rules specified in Section 7 of the Sporting Code concerning the documentation required to be produced by pilots flying uncertified paragliders, have not kept up to date with the changes in glider technology and the test methods. Fortunately, many members of the CIVL Paragliding Subcommittee and the Open Class Technical Working Group were attending the competition. The significant number of unflyable days, enabled them to meet and hold useful discussions to identify the key issues, how best to consult with manufacturers and test houses and eventually, before the next Plenary meeting, to agree on what changes need to be made.