FAI President's letter - June 2012

Dear Air Sports Friends,

I take it you all heard the good news that we now have Breitling as our first ever Global Partner !

This prestigious Swiss watch company has always been involved in aeronautics and this partnership opens up for a new era in air sports management. The rights include a general presence at FAI World and Continental Championships. The contract was signed a very sunny afternoon in Lausanne, in the presence of Air Sport Commission Presidents and many NAC Presidents.

More detailed information on the partnership with Breitling will follow, but let me kindly ask you all to be professional about our contacts with our Partner. We are setting up procedures for continuous contact with Breitling and with our organisers. Please do not contact Breitling, in Switzerland or their local dealerships, but please send any ideas or questions to our Secretary General Jean-Marc Badan.

The fact that we are Partners with Breitling will provide us with visibility that may lead to other opportunities, but I ask you to note that Breitling is the sole watch company for FAI !

And just the other day we were able to proudly announce the formation of a FAI commercial company, FAI Air Sports Marketing and Events SA (FAME). With this company FAI will be able to respond more quickly and efficiently to requests for new or special events from host cities and our Sport Commissions. This commercial company, owned by FAI, will facilitate for the Air Sport Commissions to set up subsidiary limited companies for commercial purposes. Chairman of the Board is EB Director Bob Henderson who now steps down as President of the FAI Gliding Commission (IGC).

I take this opportunity to convey our gratitude to our Secretary General Jean-Marc Badan for his hard work in achieving these key milestones in the development of the FAI for our future.

Within the FAI Head Office I am very pleased to take note that our Senior Sport Manager Rob Hughes has arrived and very quickly is on track with his many new undertakings. And our new IT manager Visa-Matti Leinikki is now also there too - both warmly welcome!

I am very pleased to inform you that the Executive Board has appointed the first two Regional Vice Presidents, for East and Southeast Asia - Mr. Tengku Abdillah (MAS), and for South America - Mr. Flavio Oliva (BRA). They have received detailed instructions and I wish them the best of luck in these new positions.
And we now have four Experts Groups established to support the general interest of FAI: Airspace, Navigation, Safety, and Regulation Expert Groups are in place to handle specific matters and also to provide advice on issues that may benefit all of our members. Still in progress is the work to build the next planned new Expert Groups.
Thank you for your devotion to the development of air sports in the Regions and in Expert groups!

As you can see the Executive Board has been very busy. As well as the contract with Breitling and the creation of FAME, we have continued to develop our Strategic plan, our anti-doping policies and procedures, appointed two Regional Vice Presidents, and set up most of our Expert Groups. We are a good team in the Executive Board, discussing all issues in a very open atmosphere and I must say the Board members are working very hard and efficiently within their defined portfolios and with their governance responsibilities towards the FAI.  

Earlier this year I enjoyed visiting the annual meeting of the FAI Parachuting Commission (IPC) in Buenos Aires - very well arranged by Federaci├│n Argentina de Paracaidismo in a most pleasant sport club where we all could stay, eat and meet during five days. Even the weather was marvelous! I must say I learnt a lot about IPC and enjoyed very much getting to know the Delegates from all over the world; the meeting was well attended.
You might know that the IPC Delegates decided to award Championships in August 2013, to Grozny in the Russian Republic of Chechnya. As things are today, I and the Executive Board are not convinced this location is a good idea because of the situation there. I urge you to inform yourselves of developments and to make sure the travel advice from your foreign office or National air sport coordinators is updated for any of your air sport persons that may be thinking of attending.
IPC also decided to start a company called IPETA to develop commercial opportunities such as Canopy Piloting tours. This company will be owned by FAI, preferably as a subsidiary of the FAI commercial company.
The IPC Bureau was also instructed by the Plenum to re-negotiate the FAI Championship medals in order to find cheaper and more individualized medals. I note that this is not in accordance with the FAI Sporting Code and that existing, signed Organiser Agreements remain in effect. The IPC has since filed a request with CASI to change the Sporting Code. This will be considered at the CASI meeting preceding the General Conference in Antalya, Turkey in October.

I and IPC President Graeme Windsor visited Russia on invitation from their NAC President Vladimir Ivanov and Parachuting federation President Sergey Serendeev, and I must say it was a most pleasant visit, where - apart from the renowned Russian friendly hospitality - I had the opportunity to visit several parachuting drop zones. A meeting with the Russian Federation Sports Minister was arranged, and he gave the full support "at the highest level" to the planned event in Grozny.

I also took part in the Europe Air Sports (EAS) annual meeting in Cologne, and was very pleased and impressed to see how well the various working groups are struggling with the constant renewal of legislation regarding air space, maintenance, airworthiness, certification, etc. I had no idea there are so many acronyms! David Roberts led the conference in a very knowledgeable way, and was re-elected as their President. (You might know FAI has a Memorandum of Understanding with EAS regarding these issues which of course are very important for the future of air sports - not only in Europe).

Finally, I had the opportunity to visit the annual meeting of the FAI Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM) in Lausanne, where they celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Space Modelling. Never did I see so many deserving young people receive rewards! Great! I wish to re-iterate my best wishes to the new CIAM President Mr. Antonis Papadopoulos, and to thank Mr. Bob Skinner for his many years of devoted work as President.

I take this opportunity to welcome Mr. Agust Gudmundsson as new President of the FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission (CIVL), Mr. Eric Mozer as acting President for the FAI Gliding Commission (IGC), and congratulate Mr. Jean-Claude Weber of the FAI Ballooning Commission (CIA) for his re-election.

The Minutes from these meetings will of course be available on the web.

As I write this letter, I am enjoying a relaxed moment after an intense week of meetings at the Sport Accord Conference in Quebec, Canada. This is huge convention, where International sports federations meet to learn from each other and together enhance sport development.  
On my way home I had a chance to visit ICAO Chief Flight Operations Section, Mr. Mitch Fox at ICAO Head Office in Montreal. I hope this can be the start for more close contact with them.

I now wish you all a safe and wonderful flying season.

John Grubbstr├Âm      
FAI President