During its recent Autumn meeting, CIVL Bureau reviewed reports from accidents, some fatal, in Category 1 and 2 events.
From these reports, a recurrent problem was identified. In degraded conditions (stall, spin…) some pilots were unable to reach and use their reserve parachute and fell to the ground. CIVL Bureau believes that these accidents might have been avoided if these pilots had been equipped with a second reserve deployable with the opposite hand compared to the main reserve or with both hands. This analysis is in line with the analysis of the Paragliding Competition Safety Task Force report (published in December 2011) concerning Piedrahita 2011 World championship accidents.
Therefore, the CIVL Bureau has decided to make a second reserve mandatory for FAI Category 1 paragliding XC events from May 1st, 2014. All pilots should carry the current mandatory reserve parachute plus one more. The latter must be deployable with the opposite hand compared to the main reserve or, even better, with both hand.
The Bureau encourages all pilots not to wait for this deadline to get equipped with a second reserve. Many manufacturers already sell harness that can fit two reserves. Some other manufacturers will be able to supply owners of existing competition harnesses with pods with integrated reserve parachute container. Pilots would not necessarily need to buy a complete new harness.
The Bureau also encourages pilots to check and repack their reserves regularly and to get used to throw them while in flight simulators.
Carrying a mandatory second reserve has the support of the Paraglider Manufacturers Association (PMA). It will also be considered by the PWCA.
This Bureau decision will have to be ratified by the Plenary in February 2013. (item left out by mistake and added on Nov. 29)