Colombia takes gold at PG Accuracy World Games Test Event



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.


Paragliding Accuracy marks the spot in Cali, Colombia


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


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

6646-3rd E ParaAcc Ohrid copy

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!


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).


Tragic death for Dilip Kotecha


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


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?


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 send your comment to Stéphane Malbos, 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!


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


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.