It is with deep regret that the FAI announces the death of Dr. Hanspeter Hirzel, FAI President from 1992 to 1994. He passed away peacefully in Switzerland on 2 April at the age of 76 years. His presence will be missed by all who knew him. He will be remembered for his kindness, generosity and his dedication to the FAI, air sports and aviation in general to which he contributed greatly throughout his life.
Born in Zurich, Switzerland in 1937, Dr. Hirzel was first interested in aviation as a young aeromodeller and started flying as a powered aircraft pilot in 1955. Since then he flew on a private basis all kinds of light aircraft (piston engine and turboprop) and jets (Venom, Hunter, Mirage), serving as a volunteer pilot within the Swiss Airforce.
A long-time active pilot (PPL, CPL, IFR and Flight Instructor), he served as member and chairman of jury in various national and FAI Continental and World Championships in General Aviation (Precision and Rally) and Ballooning.
From 1976 to 1986 he was President of the Motorfluggruppe Zürich based at Zürich-Airport, which is, with over 1100 members, the largest flying club of Switzerland. From 1973 to 1988 he was President of the national Airsport Commission, from 1981 to 1991 he was Officer of the Swiss Aero Club and from 1985 to 1991 he served as its President.
From 1985 on he became an Officer of the PRO AERO Foundation (Switzerland) which promotes air sports activities.
As a Delegate for Switzerland, he joined in 1977 the FAI General Airsport Commission (CASI) and became from 1985 to 1991 its 1st Vice President. In his capacity as lawyer and attorney he was nominated several times to the International Appeals Tribunal. From 1982 to 1992 he was FAI Vice President for Switzerland. FAI Council elected him in 1984 as Member then in 1985 as President of the FAI Statutes Committee.
He served as FAI 1st Vice President from 1990 to 1992 when he was elected President of FAI. His term of presidency ended at the end of 1994. Dr. Hirzel committed himself particularly to enlarge and improve FAI’s relations with other International Aviation and Sporting Organisations (ICAO, IWGA, IAOPA, IOC) showing the worldwide importance of air sports and its connected aeronautical activities within global aviation and to get FAI involved in the work of organisations governing international aviation to guarantee full air sport activities and its needed air space in the future.
Since 1994, he stayed active within FAI as CASI Alternate Delegate and regularly attended the FAI General Conference as President of Honour. He was also instrumental in moving the FAI Head Office from Paris to Lausanne in 1998.
The FAI offers its condolences to his family and friends at this sad time.