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St Andre Euro PG Airborne

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The weather finally cleared and we were airborne! The first task of the European Paragliding Championships took place on Thursday, 6 Sept. at St Andre les Alpes. Pilots launched into a light updraft and scratched a while until the sky finally decided to deliver its blessing of lift. All pilots made it onto the course, and the race was on. The task was a 103 km race up and down the region’s magnificent peaks and sinuous valleys. The lift was reliable and widespread. In the end it was too widespread, for it ODed and dropped some rain. Due to the sensitivity of the new gliders to moisture, the task was stopped after three and a half hours, but already 73 pilots were in goal. In the end Xevi Bonet Dalmau from Spain flying a Niviuk Icepeak 6 took home the bacon in first place. (Photos Martin Scheel)

2013 Forbes HG World Championship local regulation are published

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The FAI 2013 Forbes hang gliding World Championsips local regulations are published! CIVL would like to apologize profusely as this publication comes a month late.

The St-André Euro PG on the way

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The FAI Paragliding Cross-Country European Championship started on September 2nd in St-André-les-Alpes, France. Dennis Pagen, President of the Jury, wrote to us...

We arrived in St. Andre with perfect timing. There has been a serious drought in southeast Europe, so we scheduled a competition and brought much-needed rain. Yesterday was registration and the opening ceremony. It actually cleared a bit in the afternoon, and most competitors took the opportunity to catch an hour or two of flying, so there is no weather stress as yet. Since then it has rained chats and chiens and today, the first scheduled day of competition has been cancelled.

Last evening we had a parade with pilots in their sassy native dress, followed by obligatory speeches by the local politicians. Then we had a party in the town centre which got us mingling with the locals and enjoying the French culture. That's why we come to these events, isn't it? Oh, of course there's the flying, and if all is right with the universe it will clear and the race will be on. While we enjoy the village and the local color, we are waiting for a chance to show our colors.

The Kayseri Euro HG on the way

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The FAI Hang Gliding European Championship started on August 26th. 66 pilots from 17 nations have already flown 4 tasks. You can follow the competition on the organizers’ website.

The new FS Software is out!

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FS the Official CIVL XC Competition Scoring Software for Hang and Paragliding has been updated with version 1.3.1 and is available on FS homepage. Please look at the Documentation and Forum sections for information on how to use the software and last changes made.

 

What’s up in August 2012?

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Summer is a busy time for leisure or competition pilots. CIVL Bureau though it was a good time for holidays, but, hey, no way!

John Dickenson, inventor of the modern hang glider, has been honoured 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.

Paragliding aerobatics is a relatively young discipline, recognised by CIVL from 2005. One of the difficulties that potential organisers encounter, is the lack of qualified PG Aerobatics Judges available to work at competitions. 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.

The 3rd FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championship was run in Orhid (FYR Macedonia) last July. Report and links are published on our website.

The Paragliding pre-World was run in Sopot (Bulgaria) last July. The Steward report was carefully read and the Bureau will make sure that all recommendations made will be implemented.

Paragliding Accuracy is one of the discipline of the 2014 World Games in Cali (Colombia). The pre-World was run earlier this month. Reports are published on our website.

The letter we sent to EHPU and PMA to re-state CIVL position on the evolution of competition gliders and the answers we got show that we are still far from a consensus on what these gliders should be. So CIVL has invited EHPU and PMA to a top level meeting in St-André-les-Alpes (France) on September 15th, closing day of the European Paragliding championship.

The Competition Structure Working Group will also hold a meeting in St-André-les-Alpes, on September 16th. It’s intermediary report published on our website did not get many comments. It’s still time people! The way CIVL chooses between bids for Category 1 events has been added to the Working Group agenda.

Finally, we published our analysis on selection criteria and nation size for the next FAI European Paragliding Championship.

Colombia takes gold at PG Accuracy World Games Test Event

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After a nail-biting 6th and final round, top Colombian pilot, Ricardo Gomez gained first place in the Paragliding Accuracy World Games Test Event, which concluded successfully on Saturday in Cali, Colombia. Andy Shaw (GBR) took silver, and Miguel Martinez (COL) was in third place.

Read more...

Paragliding Accuracy marks the spot in Cali, Colombia

WG-PGaccu-Cali

The Paragliding Accuracy Test Event of the World Games in Cali, Colombia is underway. The competition, being held at the Marco Fidel Suarez Air Force base, provides a venue convenient for winch-launching and for spectators, close to Colombia’s ‘Salsa City’. It is being run in parallel with Parachuting Canopy Piloting.

The venue has been months in preparation, with the construction of a swoop pond for the parachutists, measuring 25m x 65m. The Paragliding Accuracy target is located close by, so that the landing areas of both disciplines are immediately in front of spectator stands. Although this year’s Test Events are low key affairs, next year, these airsports events are expected to attract huge crowds from the local population as well as internationally.

Two rounds each of paragliding accuracy and parachuting canopy piloting have been completed on the first full day of the competition.

The inclusion of Paragliding Accuracy in the Cali World Games has given a tremendous boost to the discipline in Colombia. Recent local FAI Cat 2 competitions have produced a field of 20 Colombian pilots competing this week. There is international representation, with pilots from Czech Republic and United Kingdom. Next year, 36 of the world’s top paragliding accuracy pilots will be selected and invited to participate.

The World Games

Paragliding Accuracy and Parachuting Canopy Piloting represent the only two airsports taking part in the 2013 edition of The World Games. A diverse range of some 30 non-Olympic sports are featured, including rugby, orienteering, fistball and Squash, acrobatic gymnastics, sumo wrestling and fin swimming. Some 4000 athletes from 120 countries are expected to compete. See: http://www.theworldgames.org/the-sports/sports

Test events for this multi-sport extravaganza are taking place throughout this year, and will all be played out at the same time next year from 25 July to 4 August.

Pic caption: Andy Shaw (GBR) scores in the first round of the Paragliding Accuracy World Games Test Event. Note the parachuting ‘swoop pond’ just behind.

About the next European Paragliding Championship selection criteria and nation size

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A number of team leaders have voiced concern about the lack of clear publication and/or advertisement of the 10 pilots per nation rule as no other Europeans had been run like this.

The main concern is that the team choice was based on the expectation of a team size of 5 + 1 and this is how they based their selection/funding for the season. Some nations did not expect to have to try and find this many more pilots at short notice.

Questions were also raised about team scoring and CIVL had to point out that these extra pilots will form no part of the team scoring and will not receive a medal if their nation is on the Podium. Some pilots might feel frustrated that they don't contribute. One team leader expressed the view that these extra pilots were only being included to make up the numbers (financially ).

Finally, with more than 30 non team pilots flying ( the extra ones are all from the strong Nations France, Swiss, etc.), this could have the potential to skew the team scores a lot, making in what some people already find is an unfair team competition even more unfair.

CIVL would like to underline that…

- We know it's important for the organizers to get 150 pilots so they can balance their budget. It is probably the main reason why St-André opened the door to 10 pilots per country.

- Today, tendency is to make the selection criteria harder, not easier. If organizers want 150 pilots, the number of pilots per country has to be more than 5 + 1. St-André had a choice: stay at 5 + 1 and open to non-European pilots; go 9 + 1 and open only to European. They chose to have more European pilots flying and will not allow any non-European pilots.

The Morzine, France, 2005 Euro was based on 8 pilots team, not far from St-André 10, for the same financial and political reasons. At the time, the selection level was top 1000 of the WPRS, not top 400 like St-André, a big difference.

- During the last February CIVL Plenary, we talked at length about making the selection criteria harder and what the consequences would be. What's happening in St-André should not be a surprise to anyone.

- Rules are supposed to be know by all. Local regulations were published on time in March. It's a European championship. Travel expenses are not that high. Nations had ample time to get prepared for 10 pilots team if they wanted.

- Team leaders are smart. Yes, having extra pilots not scoring for the team is a problem for pilots and team leaders. It is also a big opportunity to have more pilots in  a top level competition and nations should be happy with it.

- Every country can send 10 pilots (if they are good enough). Every country will have the same number of pilots scoring. The team results will show strictly the strength of nations.

3rd FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championship - Ohrid, MKD

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The 3rd FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championship came to an end last July the 8th. Were crowned...

Overall: 1- Dimitar Ralev, Bulgaria; 2- Goran Gjurkovic, Serbia; 3- Matjaz Sluga, Slovenia.

Women: Milica Marinkovic, Serbia; 2- Jolanta Romanenko, Lithuania; Barbora Smutna, Czech Republic.

Nations: 1- Slovenia; 2- Czech Republic; 3- Serbia.

Check the competition website here. 

See here all the pictures of the competition, including the prize-giving ceremony !

The FAI Gold Air Medal for John Dickenson!

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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).

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