Following the tragic events at the FAI World Paragliding Championships in Piedrahita and the subsequent temporary suspension of Competition Class paragliders in Category 1 events, the Hang gliding & Paragliding Commission (CIVL) has announced the formation of the Paragliding Competitions Safety Task Force.
The CIVL Bureau has appointed Gregory Knudson to chair this Task Force. Greg is the CIVL Delegate for Luxembourg and a competition pilot (having competed on an open class glider in Piedrahita this year).
The Task Force has two primary aims:
• To identify, as far as possible, the most likely causes behind incidents involving open/competition class gliders over the last 2 years
• To identify ways of reducing the risk of such incidents in competitions, and importantly, to provide recommendations and considerations to CIVL/FAI, 1st and 2nd category event organisers, and pilots, for improving safety
In this way, the Task Force will not only be considering the issues surrounding competition class paragliders in competitions, but also investigating and proposing solutions in order to improve the overall safety of all FAI sanctioned events.
One of the first actions will be to compile the incident data we have collected so far and to gather further data, so that some meaningful analysis into the causes can be conducted. CIVL’s Incident Report Form provides the structure for the database and the form is now available online. A call for incident data will soon be made to NACs, competition organisers, team leaders and pilots.
The CIVL Bureau would like to further clarify that Competition Class paragliders were suspended from Category 1 championships as a direct result of the two fatalities and multiple reserve deployments at Piedrahita. It is precisely because we do not yet fully understand the combination of causes behind these incidents that the CIVL Bureau took this decision and has now established this Task Force.
However, the CIVL Bureau believes that online contests are significantly different in nature to FAI 1st Category events and it does not see a need to recommend suspension of uncertified gliders from such contests. CIVL’s own World XC online contest (WXC) continues to allow flights on uncertified gliders. However, it is recognised that, where online contests are run under the authority of NACs, those organisations are best placed to make such judgements.