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The FAI Gold Air Medal for John Dickenson!

Dickenson-Gold

John Dickenson, inventor of the modern hang glider, has been honored with the highest FAI award: the Air Gold Medal. The glider that John Dickenson built in september 1963 proved to be unprecedently simple, unprecedently user friendly, unprecedently easily copied. It became the template for almost all hang-gliders, giving access to the sky to thousands of people, opening the doors to a new sport.

 

A (very) short story of hang gliding

Hang gliding began with Otto Lilienthal in 1891. The German engineer completed over 2000 flights. His gliders were very complex and difficult to build or repair, with a control system that proved inadequate to deal with turbulence. Lilienthal died following a crash; still he proved that flying was possible.

American railway engineer Octave Chanute designed, built and flew his Bi-plane hang glider that same year. Plans for the Chanute glider sold well and many were built and flown in the early 20th century. The gliders were relatively simple to build, but they lacked adequate control for turbulent conditions and they were fragile if crashed.
The sport of hang gliding really began in Australia in 1963 when John Dickenson invented the modern hang glider. The glider was robust, able to withstand many crashes and still fly, easy to transport and store.
The design could be comprehended after a moment's viewing or looking at a picture, and replicated for $30 with no special tools, materials or knowledge, and often flown the same day.
Dickenson's pendulum weight-shift control system was intuitive and provided abundant control. The glider was so easy to fly that one could become pilots and achieve Icarus’ dream simply by running off a hill and learning on the way down.
The magic of Dickenson’s device is the perfect coincidence of extreme simplicity, user friendliness and copy-ability. No other aircraft in history is as easy to build, fly and duplicate as the Dickenson wing. Almost 50 years after it was created, it is still the template for beginners’ hang gliders.
Dickenson's early wings used materials like banana bag plastic, Oregon pine spars and clothesline wire twist-tied at each end, but they all proved safe and strong enough. Dickenson's last wing, built in 1965, was a far cry from his earlier efforts. With more funds available to him, the airframe was 1.5 inch aircraft aluminium, the sail was made from sailcloth cut and sewn by a sail-maker, the wires were properly swaged and fitted.
In 1969, Australian Bill Moyes foot-launched and ridge-soared a Dickenson hang glider, an event John Dickenson regarded as the beginning of modern hang gliding, the proof that his wing could soar.
The same year, Bill Moyes and Bill Bennett, another Australian, took the Dickenson hang glider around the world. Moyes’ and Bennett’s flights and stunts helped to raise awareness of the glider.
Since Lilienthal's triumphs and tragedies, there had always been hang gliding here and there. Individuals or small groups of aspiring pilots were working with Chanute type wings, and some with bi-conical wings inspired by photos being published by NASA. But wherever Moyes or Bennett flew, they proved the obviously superior nature of the Dickenson glider. And wherever they encountered individuals or these groups, their spirit of generosity meant they were happy to share their knowledge.
Around the world, the number of Dickenson hang gliders went from a few dozen in 1969, to tens of thousands in just six years, when hang gliding became part of FAI in the Commission Internationale de Vol Libre (CIVL).

Dickenson-Gold-2

Tragic death for Dilip Kotecha

Kotecha-Dilip

CIVL regrets to announce the tragic death of Dilip Kotecha of India, following his crash on a mountainside shortly after the start of the first task of the paragliding pre-Worlds at Sopot, Bulgaria, on July the 15th 2012. Our thoughts are with Dilip's family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time. Investigations are going on.

Training more Paragliding Aerobatic Judges

Aerobatic-judges

Paragliding aerobatics is a relatively young discipline, recognised by CIVL from 2005. CIVL and the FAI are keen to help this sport develop further as it is particularly media and spectator-friendly. There is a growing number of paragliding aerobatic pilots (more than 180 from 26 nations in the CIVL World Pilot Ranking Scheme), but unfortunately, only a handful of FAI Cat 2 sanctioned competitions for them to attend each year.

One of the difficulties that potential organisers encounter, is the lack of qualified PG Aerobatics Judges available to work at competitions. A quick look at the PG Aerobatics Annex to Section 7B of the Sporting Code will show you just how complex a task is involved!

For the last three years, CIVL in conjunction with ARISF (Association of Recognised IOC Sports Federations), has been supporting the CIVL PG Aerobatics Subcommittee with funding to help train new Judges. But it is a long process, and Trainee Judges need to attend 4 or 5 competitions before they can be declared fully qualified.

The 2012 CIVL Plenary agreed to a further request for funding by the CIVL PG Aerobatics Subcommittee of €5000, to be split 50/50 between CIVL and ARISF. The Subcommittee, chaired this year by Claudio Cattaneo (SUI), is currently developing its 2012 Judging Training programme.

To date, FAI-sanctioned paragliding aerobatics competitions take place predominantly in Europe, and we are keen to see them expand to other continents. As a start, this means training Judges from other continents – and the allocated budget is simply not going to stretch far enough!

CIVL is asking the Federations and NACs who have PG Aerobatics Judges in training, or who have candidates they would like trained, or indeed, those who have aerobatics pilots they wish to encourage, to help provide some financial support for these trainees and pilots. Covering their travel costs, or accommodation and food while attending a competition, for example, will help our limited funds stretch much further and expand the discipline. Please contact Claudio Cattaneo the CIVL Aerobatic Chairman directly for further information. 

What’s up in early July 2012?

comp china_2012-day7

Two Asian Championships have been run in June. The 3rd Paragliding XC in Linzhou (China) had Japan win in the 3 categories: Overall, Female and Nation. The 1st Paragliding Accuracy in Wai-ao (Chinese Taipei) had Japan win in Overall and Female, and Indonesia in Nation.

Registration is open for the 2013 World Games test event in Cali (Colombia). The World Games takes place every four years, and is the second largest international multi-discipline sports event.  Of 33 non-Olympic sports participating in the 2013 event, only Paragliding Accuracy and Parachuting Canopy Piloting have been selected to represent airsports.

A letter has been sent to EHPU and PMA to re-state CIVL position on the evolution of competition gliders.

The Competition Structure Working Group has published an intermediary report. The CSWG hopes to get comments and suggestions from delegates and pilots.

Tomorrow paragliding competition scene: what do you think?

Valle-De-Bravo-2

Last February, CIVL has set up a Competition Structure Working Group (CSWG) to think about what tomorrow paragliding Category 1 competition scene could look like. The CSWG studied proposals made to the CIVL Plenary last February. The CSWG worked out many details of the proposed changes, but has not yet come to definite conclusions. It will do so this autumn and publish the results.

We would like to share with you some topics. Please This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , Chair of the Working Group..

 

Which gliders to fly?

The CSWG does not think that it would be wise to create specific competitions for EN-B or EN-C gliders. In 2012 and 2013, all Category 1 competitions should be open equally to all certified gliders.

If a new “Competition” class is created, EN certified or not, the CSWG does not think that separate Category 1 competitions should be created for Competition and non Competition gliders.

 

United Team and Individual championships

Some believe that today system is satisfying. 

It provides a nice balance between Individual and Team in one single competition. 

The selection system is already there to define which pilots we want.

 

Specific Team and Individual championships

Some believe that safety and fairness would be improved if separate World Team and Individual championships would be run. They could be organized like this…

Team and Individual in succession every two years, so the number of competitions is not multiplied. For instance: Team in 2015, Individual in 2017, Team in 2019, Individual in 2021, etc.

Team championship

- Each nation can enter 3 pilots (any gender) plus 1 female pilot. The countries ranked the highest are served first.

- On each task, for each team, the second and third best scores are counted.

Individual championships

Are selected:

First, the National Champions of the ten WPRS top-ranked countries.

Second, the winners of CIVL Category 2 Gold competitions. (This new Gold category would include, for a start, all PWCA events).

Third, the WPRS top ranked pilots.

No limitation for the number of pilots per country.

 

XC Open competition

Some believe that:

- Open distance is the mainstay of paragliding. It should be recognized and have its own WPRS and championship like PG, PG accuracy and PG aerobatics. 

- Open distance is different from race to goal. Pilots can’t excel in both. Open distance would create new set of Champions, national teams, coaches etc., with according new possibilities of obtaining grants, donations and sponsors.

- Open distance is a radical improvement of safety in the FAI approved championships. 

Hence a new Category 1 Championship would be created.

Tasks are “Open”: each pilot choose its own take off time and route.

150 pilots maximum are selected:

- 80 from the actual WPRS.

- 30 from XC Open series competition results.

- 40 “wild cards”.

Learn more about it here. Proposed scheme is valid for the start only. Later on with growing number of XC competitions a specific XCO WPRS will be created."

Winners of the 1st Asian Paragliding Accuracy Championship!

PGA-Asian-1

Congratulation to you!

 - Overall

Gold to Yoshiki Oka from Japan.

Silver to Ardi Kurniawan from Indonesia.

Bronze to Ke Yang Lin from Chinese Taipei.

- Women

Gold to Mizuho Tohbu from Japan.

Silver to Plaifha Thongdonpum from Thailand.

Bronze to Milawati Sirin from Indonesia.

- Team

Gold to Indonesia.

Silver to Japan.

Bronze to Chinese Taipei. 

Videos of the event can be found here.

CIVL writes to EHPU and PMA

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To the members of the European Hang gliding and Paragliding Union (EHPU) and Paraglider Manufacturers Association (PMA).

Safety in general and particularly in competition has always been and still is at the heart of CIVL work.

In the name of safety, as far as year 1999, proposals were made to CIVL Plenaries to run Category 1 championship with certified ‘Serial’ gliders only. The proposal were always rejected. Open class supporters argued that there were no statistics to prove that Open class gliders were any less safe than Serial class; that without an Open class, manufacturers will push Serial class design to the limits; that paraglider design and development would be restricted.

In recent years, paraglider design has been evolving radically and rapidly at the high performance end of the market.

In 2010, CIVL set up an Open Class Technical Working Group (OCTWG) to establish homologation criteria for Competition class paragliders. The first interim stage, required manufacturers to meet certain construction limitations and minimum test requirements for these gliders. Eventually, a new EN standard and certification system was to be developed.

Many discussions and some considerable work in conjunction with the PMA resulted in the definition and adoption in 2011 of CIVL’s ‘Competition class’ paragliders.

In 2011, following the double fatality on Task 2 of the World championship at Piedrahita, compounded by the high number of additional incidents, the CIVL Bureau made its decision to stop the competition by temporarily suspending the certification of Competition class gliders in FAI Category 1 events.

Most federations and private organisms like the Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA) decided then that their competitions would be restricted to certified gliders.

In the wake of Piedrahita, CIVL set up a Paragliding Competition Safety Task Force.

As the Task Force was working, manufacturers started to design their competition gliders so they would fit in the EN-D certification class. Testing was extremely difficult and many thought that these new gliders were not to be considered as appropriate for pilots who normally fly serial class gliders in the EN-D class.

Thus, the fear, first voiced 13 years previously, that serial class glider design would be pushed to the limit, had been realised.

This seemed to have made all parties realise that some sort of new ‘competition’ class paraglider was necessary to avoid EN-D becoming the ‘competition’ class.

Last February, both PMA and EHPU wrote to CIVL just before it held its 2012 Plenary.

- PMA recommended the introduction of a new ‘Competition class’ outside the existing EN-D (time frame for the definition of this new class characteristics: end of June 2012).

- PMA also recommended mandatory specific SIV course for competition pilots flying in FAI Category 1 championship and PWC (time frame to define the manoeuvres: end of March 2012).

- EHPU stated that no satisfactory solution has been found after the 2011 suspension of Competition class paragliders. EHPU and the national bodies it represents decided that they would allow in their competitions only EN certified gliders “until a satisfactory solution can be found”.

CIVL Plenary worked extensively on what could be a satisfactory solution for all and agreed unanimously on these points:

- FAI Category 1 Competitions will be flown by certified gliders only in 2012 and 2013.

- CIVL is waiting for PMA proposals for the new Competition class paragliders characteristics. CIVL Competition paragliding sub-committee will study the proposals, will work in conjunction with PMA if needed, and will hopefully give its green light for use of these new Competition class gliders from 2014 on.

- CIVL would like the new Competition class gliders to fit in a new EN certification as soon as possible. This new certification should have to be simplified (less manoeuvres) so it can be easier and faster to be reviewed (hence cheaper). This would allow the implementation of safe limits as well as the evolution of paragliders design.

- CIVL is waiting for PMA proposals concerning the needed qualifications for pilots flying in Category 1 and PWCA competitions. CIVL is ready to include in its training program such qualifications in a form to be decided by its Competition paragliding and Safety sub-committees.

- Finally, CIVL has set up a Competition Structure Working Group to study the possibilities of alternate form of competition: Serial class championships, separate Team and Individual championships, Open distance championships.

CIVL hope that everyone will be convinced that these proposals are in fact a “satisfactory solution” that would allow the new Competition class paragliders to be flown in all competitions from 2014 on.

CIVL encourages PMA to work on this project as fast and as well as possible. A lot depends on PMA’s work.

CIVL is ready to make available its human and financial means so this global project can go forward, as long as all parties concerned – EHPU, PMA, ESTC – agree that this is the road that the paragliding industry and competition scene should take to come out of its current difficulties. 

Accuracy pilots prepare for World Games

World-Games-2013-logo

Registration is now open for the Paragliding Accuracy Test Event of the World Games! Dates are 7th to 11th August, and the venue is Cali, Colombia. There are 36 places open to paragliding accuracy pilots, and interested competitors are requested to register as soon as possible.

Read more...

The new Asia Paragliding Champions!

comp china_2012-winners

CIVL congratulates all the winners of the 3rd FAI Asian Paragliding Championship in Linzhou (China)! More information in the News of event pages!

General:
1  Kamiyama Taro M - JPN (Mantra M4) - Points: 3677 
2  Lim Moonseob M - KOR (Boomerang GTO) - Points: 3110
3  Hiraki Keiko F - JPN (Mantra M4) - Points: 3032

Female:
1  Hiraki Keiko F - JPN - (Mantra M4) - Points: 3032
2  Di Wang F - CHN - (Ozone DELTA) - Points: 1411
3  Igawa Emi F - JPN - (Mantra M4) - Points: 1154

Teams:
1  JAPAN - Points: 7129
2  KOREA - Points: 6699
3  INDIA - Points: 5289

 

What’s up? May 2012

What's up - May 2012

Some ninety-three Jury and Steward reports of competitions (from 1995 till today) have been collected, scanned and filed. They are available to delegates only, who can get any of them through Bureau members.

 

Dates and venue of the next Plenary are set. The Sub-Commissions and Working Groups will convene at FAI office and the Plenary itself at the Mövenpick Hotel on February 14th to 17th in Lausanne, Switzerland.

We’ve had problem with change of organizers for events like the 2014 Asia Paragliding accuracy, the 2013 Asian Paragliding Accuracy, the 2012 Paragliding pre-World. Problems have solutions and CIVL has been working on them.

The 2012 Category 1 competition season is on! It has started with the Asian Paragliding XC and will follow with the Asian Paragliding accuracy in June. Reports and pictures are published on our website in the Event / News of Events pages.

FAI, CIVL and the World Anti Doping Code

AntiDoping

FAI, an international federation, endorsed the World Anti-Doping Code in 2003. CIVL reminds pilots competing in FAI Category 1 and 2 events that they must comply to the said Code. You will find more details on the code and procedures on FAI website.

 

CIVL underlines:

  • The necessity for pilots in need of medication to check the forbidden products list  and, if necessary, make use of the Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs).
  • The specificity of certain recreational drugs that can be detected weeks after they have been absorbed.
  • The risk of anti-doping control in FAI sanctioned competitions.
  • The likely severity of sanctions in case of a failed test.