FAI President's letter - January 2012

Dear Air Sport Friends,

After the General Conference I feel confident we are on the right track. And I am pleased to report that the Executive Board also shares my opinion (both confident and on the right track !).

The re-organization effort of our head office is well under way, but it is not and has not, been easy. It will require some time before we are up and running. We have and have had shortcomings, and these are being addressed. Some of them you are well aware of and some are being gradually uncovered. However, the head office is being reconstructed under the competent leadership of our Secretary General Jean-Marc Badan. He and the EB have recruited a new Sports Manager, Mr. Robert (Rob) Hughes, and a new IT Manager, Mr. Visa-Matti Leinikki, who will join the office in March and May respectively. Let’s give them a warm welcome and a chance to get into the match! And let the head office catch up before further steps can be achieved on important matters such as, for example, a new Organiser Agreement, the FAI Sporting Licence Database or further improvements on the FAI Website and databases.

I have been waiting for the minutes from our General Conference (GC) before commenting or reporting.  As you can understand, with the understaffing of our head office and the difficult work to summarize the tapes from the GC, it takes time to get them finally approved for publication. They will, however, be published shortly.

There were some major landmarks at the 105th General Conference:

  • A new consolidated budget and financial statement process – now we can keep much better track of what’s going on with our money; some “fine-tuning” will however be needed before the 2013 budgeting process is launched.
  • A step-by-step introduction of Regional Vice Presidents – now we have initiated the first steps to have better insight on what’s going on at a regional level.  
  • Expert Groups – now we can target specific issues.
  • A new sport strategy – now we can increase general public, media and sponsor interest. 
  • 3 “hot potatoes” were discussed and EB advised on : CASI existence or reform; the Statutes Working Group (SWG) Terms of Reference; and, the votes of  Air Sport Commission Presidents at GC. Very good discussions in my view and EB will come back with proposals to the 2012 GC on some of these issues.  
  • We were very pleased to greet Qatar and Albania as new FAI Active Members in Class 10. Welcome!
  • As usual we approved new Vice Presidents, the new CASI representatives and the new SWG. All new and re-elected officers of FAI : Thank you, very welcome and good luck! And to those of you who left : Thank you for your work, well done !
  • In the open forum we had three splendid presentations on anti-doping, on education and on Handiflight (how to promote and integrate Disabled Flying initiatives). I must say I found Mr. Schimmel’s presentation on hands-on education most inspiring, and Mr. Feral’s presentation on Handiflight impressive. Thank you – you are real promoters of our sports!

Malaysia won the bid for the 107th GC in 2013; in tough competition with Montenegro. And Romania, Montenegro and China let us know they are considering bidding for 2014. (As you know the 2012 GC will be in Antalya, Turkey.)

You can read more on GC issues in the minutes soon. The reports from the Air Sport Commission Presidents were published with the Agenda and will be available as annexes to the GC minutes.

Thanks again to all at the Aeronautical Union of Serbia for good time in Belgrade! At the closing dinner it was my great pleasure to welcome as Companions of Honour Willi Arpagaus and Henk Meertens, and to award the FAI Gold Medal to David Hempelman-Adams. What a night!

We now had our first EB meeting of the year, in Lausanne. A complex and tough agenda was successfully worked through, and some major issues were:

  • The Regional Management Structure introducing Regional Vice Presidents was approved, with procedures for nomination, appointment and operation.
  • A Task Force for Sponsoring and Fundraising was appointed. 
  • 3 New Expert Groups will be soon introduced : Safety, Regulation and, at a later stage, Marketing & Communication.
  • We are entering negotiations with the intention of creating a FAI Social Community.
  • The Sport Strategy was endorsed.
  • We will improve the routines for amending By-Laws, with a stricter follow up of amendments.
  • The FAI Anti-Doping Policy was endorsed. 
  • A proposed amendment to the Sporting Code regarding event cancellations will be sent to CASI. 
  • The structure of a future FAI Marketing Agency was discussed.
  • And of course we fine-tuned the EB Directors’ portfolios/areas of responsibilities.

The EB took great interest in the proposals the Presidents of the FAI Parachuting Commission (IPC) and FAI Gliding Commission (IGC) had submitted to the EB:

  • The IPC Bureau was discussing the possibility of creating an entity to conduct commercially-oriented activities that would be open to all IPC Delegates appointed by our NACs.
  • The IGC Bureau was considering the creation of a commercial company that would have the authority to seek partners to develop and promote the FAI Sailplane Grand Prix.

These initiatives might also serve as basis for other similar projects from other Air Sport Commissions, so I and EB are most interested in feedback and views from our NACs and ASCs about this possible development.

Please let me know your views!

There will be a meeting with the Air Sport Commission Presidents on Friday 11 May in Lausanne, and an informal Meeting of Presidents of FAI Active Members that have the possibility to attend on 12 May (with the next EB meeting over the same weekend).

Where I live it is now dark and snowing. In other parts it is warm and sunny (and flyable, I hope !)

And some are just celebrating the New Year- let’s hope it will be for all safe, fun and competitive !

Soft landings,


John Grubbström
FAI President