15 May 2018

“One FAI”: the main news from the FAI Mid-year Meeting in Istanbul, Turkey

The 2018 FAI Mid-year Meeting of the FAI Active Members Presidents, the FAI Commission Presidents and the FAI Executive Board took place in the dynamic city of Istanbul in Turkey on May 8, 9 and 10.

Held at the Renaissance Hotel, and expertly hosted by the Turkish Aeronautical Association (THK), it was a friendly, constructive event attended by all but one of the FAI Commission Presidents, as well as National Airsport Controls (NAC) representatives from 13 different countries.

Highlights of this year’s meeting on the theme “One FAI” included presentations from Regional Vice Presidents Tengku Abdillah of South East Asia, and Ayed Aldhafiri, who discussed the evolution of air sports in the Middle East and North Africa.

FAI President Frits Brink said : “The general mood at the 2018 Mid-year Meeting in Istanbul was very positive, with attendees from numerous countries demonstrating their commitment to FAI and the development of air sports around the world.

“I would like to congratulate THK for their excellent hospitality, and thank our members from the Middle East and Asia for their fascinating contributions.”

Developing sports and regions

Air sports are booming in Asia, with drone racing extremely popular in Korea and China, and paragliding attracting new fans across the continent.

The FAI Executive Board is therefore continuing to work with the Airsports Federation of Asia (AFA) on a dedicated Asia/China strategy that will allow the Federation to maximise the potential of this trend and bring the joy of air sports to even more people in the region.

One of the mainstays of this approach is to run more events in Asia, a strategy that is already bearing fruit as can be seen from the large number of FAI events taking place.

Recent events in Asia include the 1st FAI-ASFC Fly In Expo in Wuhan, China, held in November 2017, the SportAccord and Asia Focus meetings in Bangkok in April this year, and the 2018 China Drone Racing Open held in Shenzhen in May.

Later this year, we can also look forward to the Asian Games 2018, taking place in Indonesia in August, and the first FAI World Drone Racing Championships, which will touch down in Shenzhen this November.

The evolution of modern, young air sports such as drone racing and indoor skydiving – two of the fastest growing air sports in the world – was also high on the agenda.

Brink said: “It is great to see such an impressive list of FAI events taking place in Asia.

“The Federation is also very excited about the opportunities presented by relatively new air sports such as indoor skydiving.

“We intend to ensure these sports are fully supported both now and in the years to come.”

Multi-sport events

One of the FAI’s overarching aims is to promote and widen the appeal of air sports of all kinds.

The FAI Executive Board believes that championing the inclusion of air sports in big, multi-sport events is one of the best ways to achieve this.

Much progress has been made in this area over recent years, resulting in air sports joining the programmes at numerous sporting events.

The list of multi-sport events at which FAI sports will be represented over the next few years includes:

  • Asian Games 2018 (Paragliding)
  • The World Games 2021 (Canopy Piloting and Drone Racing)
  • CISM (International Military Sports Council) World Championships 2019 (Skydiving)

The FAI Parachuting Commission (IPC), is also supporting the French Parachute Federation’s bid to convince the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to include Skydiving in the Olympic Games 2024, which will be held in Paris, France.

The FAI World Air Games 2020

Most excitingly of all, FAI’s own multi-sport event – the FAI World Air Games – is also approaching.

Set to be the biggest ever, the 2020 Games will be held across a total of 6 venues in Turkey and will involve approximately 2,800 participants, helpers and officials.

The premier, international, multi-discipline air sports event conducted under FAI rules, the FAI World Air Games attracts the world’s top air sports athletes across a wide range of air sports such as aerobatics and aeromodelling.

The aims of the event include showcasing air sports to the general public and attracting new participants, as well as promoting FAI events to other sports organisations and creating an attractive platform for TV, media and other external stakeholders.