Wednesday, 04 April 2012 12:17
CIVL is proud to nominate John Dickenson, father of the modern hang glider, for recipient of the 2012 FAI Gold Air Medal.
The nomination: "Lilienthal and Chanute might be considered as the fathers of hang gliding, but their gliders were fragile and hard to control in turbulent conditions.
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 and replicated with no special tools, materials or knowledge. The control system was intuitive and efficient. The glider was so easy to fly that one would become a pilot 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.
From 1963 to 1969, the Dickenson wing was boat-towed and released. In 1969, it was foot-launched, ridge-soared and taken around the world. In just six years, the number of Dickenson gliders went from a few dozens to tens of thousands, when hang gliding became part of FAI in the Commission Internationale de Vol Libre (CIVL).
The sport of hang gliding has never been honoured by a FAI Gold Air Medal. It makes CIVL all the more proud to nominate John Dickenson, holder of FAI Hang Gliding Diploma in 2006, for the highest FAI award."
FAI Vice Presidents will decide sometime next June if a FAI Gold Air Medal will be given away in 2012, and if so to who it should be.
Read more about John Dickinson and the history of hang gliding here.
Thursday, 22 March 2012 09:11
The Safety subcommittee met in Taipei last month under the chairmanship of Frenchman Raymond Caux. It was the first meeting of the subcommittee and was attended by 35 persons. The key points…
Structure and activity of the Safety SC
A good competition safety record is critical, not only for saving lives, but for the continuation of our sport: attracting organisers, sponsors, competitors etc.
The SC should contain a mix of people who are prepared to work, representing pilots, manufacturers, organisers and other technical experts, as well as the chairs (or their representatives) of each discipline subcommittee.
The PG Competitions Safety TF activity and report was exemplary, and recommendations should be followed up.
Safety issues need to be actively raised and discussed during the year. SC should be informed/involved on a regular basis.
How to address/communicate safety issues – new media, at competitions, understand psychology and develop Safety Culture.
Actions: Formalise SC members; set agenda of short and long term issues by discipline and/or overall; set timetable and distribute actions.
A small group of volunteers was formed to pursue this initiatie and take in recommendations of Task Force.
Actions: Simplify online form for pilots, introduce short form for organisers to complete (linked to processing results for WPRS), consider DHV-like summary of incidents for information and awareness, create a ‘safety index’ (ie incidents/pilots/task) to show evolution of safety record.
Research on equipment
PG Reserves: Interest in initiating some research into reviewing PG reserve parachute deployment systems (ie 2 reserves, 2-sided reserves, automatic deployment systems).
Action: Experts to be consulted and a research programme defined and costed.
Mixed views on making it compulsory due to cost and reliability issues. No conclusion on whether this is something CIVL should provide. Discussion on current costs (around €3000 or $4000 per event, plus cost of tech support).
FAI has just created a safety experts group, CIVL should be involved. Me should also liaise with organisations like OSTIV, EHPU, PWCA, testing houses, manufacturers.
Action: Pursue and determine best CIVL representative to join group and liaise in each case.
Improving pilot education, awareness, psychology of safety issues.
Some ideas emerged on how to communicate more effectively with pilots about safety and creating a safety culture.
Action: Create a template/agenda for mandatory safety briefings with re-usable ideas (short video clips, top pilot talks, interactive, varied speakers etc). Define key topics and create some informational films (aka HG sprogs) using top pilots, and/or other experts.
Raise skills for pilots in cat. 1 competitions
Task Force and PMA recommending an SIV-style qualification for competition pilots. Strong views in favour. Some concern about cost and availability of courses. PMA experts working on proposed program. CIVL could help by funding trainers to run courses in other geographic areas and train the trainers.
It was agreed it should be a high priority to find ways to increase pilot skills and eduction.
Actions: Liaise with PMA expert group on SIV-style program. Investigate skills available worldwide to deliver such courses. (Delegates can be asked for information, and their inclination to support the initiative). Consider other initiatives, timescales, costs and effectiveness.
Wednesday, 21 March 2012 10:40
The hang gliding subcommittee met in Taipei last month under the chairmanship of Dennis Pagen, the US Delegate. Although the subcommittee was somewhat small, we had enthusiastic participation from the Australia, Dutch, Turkish, French, Danish, German, Austrian and Guatemalan delegates, most of whom are deeply involved in the hang gliding competition scene.
The underlying themes of the meeting revolved around doing everything possible to encourage and attract more competition organizers while continuing to promote safety as a key agenda item. The encouragement and support of organizers, particularly those of Category 1 competitions is a big concern: there are fewer and fewer bids for Cat 1 events and the belief is that this due, in part, to increasing burdens and costs places on organizers. To date, there are no bids for either the next World championship or the next European continental championship and this should be alarming to both the committee and the competition pilot community in general.
With this objective in mind, some important decisions were made, most notably with respect to the upcoming Hang Gliding World Championships in Forbes, Australia. The organizers asked that the usual three-member CIVL jury be modified to allow just the Jury President’s presence at the event with the remaining two jurors working remotely from their respective locations. Because protests are not terribly common, it was decided that this cost savings to the organizer was well worth allowing an exception, particularly since the cost savings would be passed directly, dollar-for-dollar, on to the pilots in the form of reduced entry fees.
The committee, as a whole, is hopeful that we can continue this trend of reducing burdens on organizers with the aim of encouraging more events.
On the subject of safety, equipment standards were high on the list as well as pilot education. Although most of the committee members weren’t overly satisfied with the EN966 helmet certification standard, it was decided that at this point, there wasn’t a better standard available, so there was little choice other than to stick with the current standard for the time being.
With respect to wire size, the committee intends to contact the testing bodies to get feedback as to whether additional testing or requirements for sidewires should be considered.
On the issue of sprog testing at Category 1 events, the focus is shifting from mandatory testing of all gliders to a more education-oriented approach. For upcoming Category 1 events, the rules will require that team leaders from each participating nation measure the sprog settings of their pilots and provide that information to the organizers. In addition, the CIVL will then conduct random sprog testing of a small number of gliders at goal and other locations to be sure gliders are within manufacturer specifications. The original idea behind sprog testing was to educate pilots on safe settings. The committee feels that we have come quite far in helping provide pilots with this very important safety information and we now hope that we can continue that trend, but on a less sweeping scale in terms of the time burden on both the organizers and the CIVL.
Finally, the committee believes that more can be done in terms of pilot safety education by creating a series of short films, featuring respected pilots, with brief information on safety related issues such as sprog settings, safest use of VG during flight, general pilot health issues related to preparations for flying (hydration, adequate sleep, etc.) and knowing when it is time to stay on the ground, in terms of after an accident, concussion type injury, etc. These short films can be used by organizers and shown at mandatory safety briefings at the start of a competition. If done properly, the thought is that competitors will tend to pay more attention and take to heart the advice of a top pilot in this sort of short film.
With the goals of increased pilot safety and continued work toward encouraging more Category 1 organizers, the committee hopes to have a productive year.
Saturday, 10 March 2012 12:51
The local regulations for the 12th FAI European Paragliding Championship in Saint-André-les-Alpes (France) have been published at
Friday, 09 March 2012 11:40
In the wake of Piedrahita, the Task Force report and a general concern for competition safety, several proposals regarding competition formats and structures were presented to the 2012 Jiao-Xi Plenary. The Paragliding Competition Subcommittee underlined the complexity of the topic. The PG Subcommittee recommended setting up a Competition Structure Working Group (CSWG) in order to analyse the pros and cons of the various proposals that were on the Plenary agenda, and to define a longer term strategy. The aim is to make recommendations for proposals to the 2013 Plenary.
Having in mind that a Category 1 championship must be a “safe, fair and satisfying contest”, the CSWG will explore the following avenues:
The CSWG will take into account:
The CSWG includes:
Wednesday, 07 March 2012 10:18
The 2014 FAI Championships have been awarded by the 2012 CIVL Jiao-Xi Plenary:
Monday, 20 February 2012 01:15
The 2012 CIVL Plenary, held in Chinese Taipei, came to a successful close on Sunday afternoon with the election of a new President, Agust Gudmundsson (ISL) and a new Bureau. The elected vice presidents are: Chris (Calvo) Burns (GBR), Goran Dimiskovski (MKE), Igor Erzen (SLO) and Stéphane Malbos (FRA). Joining them are Jamie Sheldon (USA) as secretary and Hamish Barker (AUS) as treasurer.
Sunday, 19 February 2012 03:41
By the close of the first day of the 2012 CIVL Plenary, held in Jiaosi Town, Chinese Taipei, CIVL had unanimously agreed to release a statement confirming its intention to support a new competition class of paraglider for use in FAI Category 1 championships.
Monday, 12 December 2011 02:42
CIVL and the Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA) have agreed on a continuing programme of cooperation aimed at creating a worldwide synchronised paragliding competition system. Stage one is early publication on the FAI competition calendar of all the planned PWC Cat 2-sanctioned tour events as well as Test Events for FAI Cat 1 competitions, followed by a merging of pilot databases.
Both organisations are keen to work together to ensure that there is a single premier individual event and a single premier team event on the FAI calendar. This may require some restructuring of CIVL’s Cat 1 Championship format to split the FAI World Paragliding Championships into separate individual and team competitions.
Both parties see 2015 as the earliest possible target date as bids for 2015 FAI World Championships will be made in 2013. Further discussions
will most certainly be taking place at CIVL’s 2012 Plenary in February. The full statement is at Joint CIVL PWCA announcement.