Lifting the suspension of the 2011 Competition Class gliders



The Paragliding Committee asked the Bureau to lift the suspension of the 2011 Competition Class gliders. The Bureau recognized that CIVL has no safety concerns about these gliders and that they can be used in CIVL World XC Online Contest, Category 2 events or other competitions. Yet, the Bureau cannot authorize these gliders in Category 1 events unless they fit in the new rules that have been implemented by the 2012 and 2013 CIVL plenaries.

Prior to the 2011 Piedrahita World Paragliding Championships,  paragliders in Category 1 competitions were flown with load test only. 

In 2011, the CIVL Plenary, on proposal of its Open Class Technical Working Group (OCTWG), implemented new "Competition Class" rules in its Sporting Code. This arose out of safety concerns including a fatality at the World championships in Mexico, increasingly thin lines, the random results from load testing, several reports of single and multiple line failures during competition, and a desire to increase the amount of time pilots should be able to train before a competition (rather than having gliders delivered to the competition).

Following the tragic events at the 2011 World Championships in Piedrahita, CIVL imposed in Category 1 events a temporary suspension on the use of the Competition Class paragliders.

CIVL has been asked to end this suspension. The Paragliding Committee has studied this possibility and has recommended to the Bureau to lift the suspension but not allow the gliders in Category 1 events (see attached document).


The CIVL Bureau underlines that:

- The temporary suspension was decided in July 2011 after two fatalities on the second day of a World championship. This championship was flown mostly on gliders whose characteristics had been defined just three and half months before. A lot of pilots had little experience flying these gliders. At the time, the CIVL Bureau considered that the gliders might be part of the problem and felt it had no choice but suspending them temporarily.

- The Bureau decision was approved unanimously by the following 2012 CIVL Plenary. This Plenary also decided to change its Sporting Code and remove the Competition Class from it. Only EN certified gliders would be allowed in Category 1 competition. The 2013 Plenary decided that the same rule would apply in 2013 and 2014. 

- For 2015 and after, in Category 1 events, the 2012 Plenary implemented a new competition class called "CIVL-EN Competition Class" (CECC). All gliders following the technical requirements of the CECC will be allowed to compete. 

- In the December 2011 CIVL Task Force report and in the 2012 and 2013 Plenary, it was reported that competition safety is a multi factor problem and solutions have been sought (new rules for the end of speed section, pilot experience requirements…).


In conclusion:

- In Category 1 events, lifting the suspension of glider class that has not been in the CIVL Sporting Code for last two versions/years is not applicable, even more in the light of the development and implementation of the CECC.

- Relating to gliders, to CIVL knowledge any safety concerns about the 2011 Competition Class have been allayed.

Hence, for its CIVL World XC Online Contest, its Category 2 events or other competitions, CIVL has no restriction on the use of 2011 Competition Class gliders.

- The CIVL Bureau reminds that as stated in its July 8, 2011 communique and as now included in CIVL Sporting Code, organisers of Category 2 and other paragliding events make their own assessments of rules to be applied to promote safe, fair and satisfying competitions.

(Photo: Nick Greece - Ojovolador)