Established in 1975, the Commission International de Vol Libre (CIVL – Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission) is an Air Sport Commission (ASC) of the Fédération Internationale Aéronautique (FAI – Aeronautical International Federation), founded in 1905 in Paris, France, and today based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
FAI and all ASCs, including CIVL, have their own dedicated FAI websites.
FAI is a non-governmental and non-profit making international organisation structured according to Statutes and By-Laws established by its General Conference. The nation members of FAI are represented by their National Air Sport Controls (NAC). Members may be Active, Associate, Temporary or International Affiliate. All members are listed on the FAI website.
Only Active members, each represented by a FAI Vice-President, can vote at the annual General Conference. Air Sport Commissions also have voting power at the General Conference on some matters, but not on all (like FAI statutes).
FAI is run by an Executive Board that implements the policies and decisions taken by the General Conference. The Board includes a President, six Executive Directors and one Secretary General (non-voting).
FAI structures its activities under twelve ASCs:
- Aerobatics (CIVA)
- Aeromodeling (CIAM)
- Amateur Built and Experimental Aircraft (CIACA)
- Astronautical Records (ICARE)
- Ballooning (CIA)
- General Airsport (CASI). CASI is responsible of the General Section of the Sporting Code that defines terminologies, rules, measurement standards, etc.
- General Aviation (GAC)
- Gliding (IGC)
- Hang Gliding and Paragliding (CIVL)
- Microlight and Paramotors (CIMA)
- Parachuting (IPC)
- Rotorcraft (CIG)
Technical Commissions have been established to cover cross-commission matters:
- New technology
FAI Head Office is responsible for day-to-day operations of FAI.
Members of FAI entities are listed on the FAI website. Members of ASC’s entities are listed on specific ASC’s websites.
The working language of CIVL is English.
CIVL is organised according to its Internal Regulations and Terms of References for its Bureau, Committees, Working Groups and Officers. Internal Regulations and Terms of References are established by CIVL Plenary and must not be in conflict with FAI Statutes and By-Laws. They are available in the ‘Document’ chapter of our website.
Each nation member of FAI may appoint a Delegate and Alternate Delegate to represent its interests within CIVL. All Delegates can vote at the annual CIVL Plenary.
CIVL is run on a day to day basis by a Bureau elected by the Plenary. CIVL has set up Committees, Working Groups and Technical Officers. Committees are permanent and Working Groups can be permanent or temporary. Technical Officers and other representatives are designated by the Bureau. All CIVL Officers and officials must have the support of their NACs.
Current Committees are:
- Hang Gliding XC
- Paragliding XC
- Paragliding Aerobatics
- Paragliding Accuracy
Current Working Group are:
- Competition Class Paragliders
- SafePro Delta
- Software FS
- Software Technical
- Woman Dynamic
- WPRS, WXC and Validation
- XC Accepted Instruments
Current Technical Officers are:
- Asian Liaison Officer
- Environmental Affairs
- Jury and Steward
- Record and Badges
- World XC Online Contest
Two collaborators are currently hired:
- CIVL Competition Coordinator: she follows the administration of some 300 Cat 2 events.
- CIVL Administrator: she helps the Bureau and Committee Chairs to run CIVL on a day to day basis.
Members of these entities are listed in the ‘About Us’ chapter of our website.
Most of the Bureau, Commissions and Working Group exchanges and work is done through ‘Basecamp’, a web-based project management and collaboration tool. Besides the functionalities that Basecamp offers, the exchanges and work done can be archived, and therefore used as references for future work.
CIVL Plenary traditionally meets every year on the first week end of February, either in Lausanne (FAI Head Office) or in any other country whose invitation to host the Plenary has been accepted by the previous Plenary.
- The Plenary Agenda is established by CIVL President.
- Written proposals for inclusion on the Agenda can be made only by CIVL Delegates or NACs and must reach FAI or CIVL at least 60 days before the Plenary.
- The Agenda and other information about the Plenary are circulated at least 45 days before the Plenary. The financial report cannot be ready within this deadline and is sent to the Delegates later.
- Only items appearing on the Agenda can be discussed at the Plenary. Once the Plenary has been opened, new items can be added only if a 2/3 majority agrees.
- A Bureau meeting is set before the Plenary (Thursday morning).
- ‘Open Meetings’ of Commissions and Working Groups are set before the Plenary (Thursday afternoon and Friday).
- The Plenary is spread over two days (Saturday and Sunday).
- Delegates or their Alternate Delegates can vote. If not present at the Plenary, a proxy can be given to any other Delegate. A Delegate can hold only one proxy. Proxies must be given in writing and signed by the President or Secretary General of the concerned NAC.
- Votes are usually made by a show of hands. If requested by a Delegate, the vote can be a secret ballot. Unless otherwise specified, proposals are passed with a simple majority. All proposals concerning changes to the Sporting Code require a 2/3 majority vote.
- Elections of Officers and bids for organising Category 1 Events or Plenaries are decided by a secret vote. If there is only one candidate, the vote might be by acclamation.
Reports and Minutes:
- Pre-Plenary ‘Open Meetings’ are summed up in reports that are included the Plenary minutes.
- The minutes are published in the ‘Document’ chapter on CIVL website not later than 45 days after the Plenary.
- December 1st: Cat 1 Championship bids sent to CIVL
- Plenary minus 60 days: NACs’ proposals sent to CIVL
- Plenary minus 45 days: Agenda sent to Delegates
- Plenary minus 2 days: Bureau, Commissions and Working Group meetings
- Plenary for 2 days
- Plenary plus 45 days: minutes published
Every two years, the Plenary elects a new Bureau. The Bureau includes a President, four Vice Presidents, a Secretary and a Financial Secretary. It ensures the policies and decisions taken by the Plenary are implemented and, basically, runs CIVL on a day to day basis. The Plenary can delegate some responsibilities to the Bureau. The Bureau is empowered to make decisions outside of the Plenary’s delegation, but the next Plenary must ratify these decisions.
The Bureau holds formal physical meetings twice a year. Its first meeting is usually scheduled in September or October. Its second meeting is scheduled just before the Plenary. Minutes of Bureau meetings are published in the ‘Document’ chapter of our website.
FAI/CIVL website is the main method of communicating to the rest of the world. We encourage you to explore its many sections and pages.
Since March 2017, CIVL is also on ‘facebook’.
Two mailing lists are currently available:
- CIVL Delegates are automatically included in the civl-com-l list.
- Anyone can subscribe to CIVL Info list, one of the many lists offered by FAI on its website (‘Mailing List’ tag)
FAI and CIVL Sporting Code
The General Section of FAI Sporting Code deals with matters that are common to all ASC in three major areas:
- organised sporting events such as competitions and championships
- validation of specified performances for certificates of proficiency or badges
The General Section chapters:
- Principles and Authority of FAI
- Classes and Definitions
- Sporting Licences
- Sporting Events
- Control of Sporting Events
- Complaints, Penalties, Protests and Appeals
- International Records
- Measurements, Calculations and Margins
CIVL, as other ASC is responsible for the specific rules and procedures that apply to its disciplines. These are defined in the different Section 7 of the FAI Sporting Code:
- Section 7 Common
- Section 7 Guidelines and Templates
- Section 7A Hang Gliders and Paragliders Cross Country
- Section 7A CIVL GAP Annex: Cross Country Competition Scoring
- Section 7B Paragliding Aerobatic
- Section 7C Paragliding Accuracy
- Section 7D Records and Badges (hang gliders and paragliders)
Our disciplines and competitions are intricate and need precise definitions. Section 7 try to deal with all subjects and situations. Therefore they are sometimes intricate to use. To work well with it, use the Table of Content published in the first pages of the each document and the Index published at the end.
When needed (in fact every year), the CIVL Plenary adjusts its Section 7 rules.
In its General Section, FAI has classified ‘Events’ in 7 groups: National Sporting Events, National Championships, International Sporting Events, Open National Championships, Continental Regional Championships, World Championships and World Air Games.
CIVL deals mainly with Continental and World championships, both classified as First Category events (Cat 1), and International sporting events classified as Second Category events (Cat 2).
Category 1 Events
World and Continental championships as well as World Air Games are FAI Cat 1 events. Continental and World championships are usually run in alternate years.
Cat 1 events are managed according to the Sporting Code (Section 7 in conjunction with the General Section and GAP) and Local Regulations.
Organising a Category 1 championships starts with preparing and presenting a bid to CIVL Plenary. The bid must be supported by the bidder’s NAC and by the local authorities. All bids are examined by the appropriate Commission and then voted by the Plenary. If successful, the bidder and its NAC will sign the Organiser Agreement. A test event for the World or Continental championship is organised one year before the championship, under rules as close as possible to the championship.
A ‘Guidelines for presentation of bids’, a ‘Practical guidelines for organisers of competitions’ and other documents are available in the ‘Document’ chapter of CIVL website. General information about organising FAI events are also available on CIVL website.
- Championship minus 3 years: letter of intention to bid (facultative)
- Championship minus 2 years: bid to the Plenary
- Championship minus 1 year: Test event (Cat 2)
Category 2 Events
FAI Cat 2 Events are … whatever is not Cat 1!
CIVL events are managed according to Section 7 in conjunction with the General Section and GAP. They must follow ‘as far as appropriate’ the rules of Cat 1 events and must not conflict with them ‘in principle’, which leaves enough room to organisers to adjust to their specific needs.
Most documents available to help organisers of Cat 1 Events can be used by organisers of Cat 2 Events:
- The Practical guidelines for organisers of competitions.
- Other documents available in the ‘Document’ chapter of our website.
- The organiser’s NAC must approve the event.
- Applications must be sent to the CIVL Competition coordinator at least 30 days before the start of the competition with proof of payment of the Sanction Fee. See the ‘Event’ chapter of our website.
- 25% of maximum available places must be set aside for pilots of other nations.
- Official results must be sent to the CIVL Competition coordinator no later than 7 days after the end of the competition.
Jury and Stewards
Jury and Stewards are the FAI Officials in attendance at Cat 1 Events. A CIVL-appointed Steward is present at a test event for a World or Continental championship.
The Steward is the neutral and independent element between the organisers and the competitors. The Steward interacts with the pilots, meet officials and Jury for the purposes of providing help and guidance, and especially rule interpretations and factors affecting the fairness and safety of the competition. He is a source of technical information concerning the rules and scoring for the meet officials. However, the Steward is not empowered to overrule officials: he has no executive power.
The Jury attends the competition for the sole purpose of observing the conduct of the competition, to ensure the event is run according to the FAI rules. The Jury members may help the organisation in operational matters that have no consequences in the fairness of the competition. The Jury will rule on protests which may affect the outcome of individual pilot or team scores. This factor will also affect meet officials if rescoring or rule interpretations are indicated.
Both Steward and Jury report to CIVL. Their reports are sent to the Bureau and appropriate Committees. They are available to Delegates on request.
Job description and duties are defined in FAI International Jury Members Handbook and CIVL Jury and Stewards Handbook.
All matters concerning Jury and Stewards are overseen by the Jury and Steward Coordinator, who reports to the CIVL President. The Coordinator maintains the database of volunteers and communicates with them about upcoming Cat 1 and Test Events. His recommendations are forwarded to the CIVL Bureau for ratification.
Both Paragliding Accuracy and Aerobatic competitions require the presence of Judges. Relevant chapters of Section 7 describe the numbers, nationalities and specific duties and roles of these judging teams. The Paragliding Accuracy and Aerobatic Commissions organise training sessions for their judges. Databases of qualified Judges are maintained on our website.
The World Pilot Ranking System (WPRS) was created in 1998 and currently rank more than 10,000 pilots from more than 70 countries. It aims to rank pilots and nations around the world in a fair manner, so the rankings will show the strength of each, based on the results of Cat 1 and Cat 2 competitions in which they have participated. The pilot points are based on the sum of 4 best competitions in the last 3 years with time devaluation. The original formula for scoring points has evolved throughout the years.
Pilots are ranked in 8 categories:
- Hang gliding Aerobatic.
- Hang gliding Class 1.
- Hang gliding Class 1 Sports Class.
- Hang gliding Class 2.
- Hang gliding Class 5.
- Paragliding Accuracy.
- Paragliding Aerobatics.
Each Category can be filtered as follow:
Pilots should check that their personal record shows the correct nationality, particularly as there are a few pilots of unknown nationality. Go to the rankings and check that you are there (if you’ve flown CIVL Cat 1 or Cat 2 competitions in the last few years you should be). By going to the registry page (under the ‘Pilots’ menu) you can update some of your own details. Contact CIVL’s Competitions Coordinator, if your nationality is wrong or you can’t find yourself (and think you should be there).
World Online XC Contest
The first official World Online XC Contest (WXC) came to a successful close in October 2011 after a two-year trial. More than 5,000 pilots from 52 nations entered flights via nine separate networked online contests in 12 categories. All winners received FAI Diplomas.
The philosophy of the WXC is to connect current and new online contests into a single network. Pilots use their favourite contest to claim their flights. Without any additional steps, their flights are also claimed in the CIVL WXC contest, along with those from pilots from all over the world.
To attend, pilots need to have a valid FAI/CIVL ID. Pilots who participate in a Cat 1 or 2 event since 2001 are automatically in the FAI/CIVL ID base. Other pilots should register through the CIVL website ranking pages. Once identified, each pilot then registers in his home online contest server.
A season runs from October 1st to September 30th. Rules of the WXC evolve based on changes in technology and flying practices. Current rules are published in the ‘Our Sport’ chapter of our website. All these information, rules, regular news and more are detailed on the WCX website.
FAI is the international authority that oversees and validates all World and Continental record claims. Rules and documentation required are to be found in FAI General Section and CIVL Section 7D. Guidelines to set a record are available on CIVL website in the Record chapter. Hang gliding and paragliding have records for the following flights:
- Straight distance
- Straight distance to a declared goal
- Declared distance around a triangular course
- Declared distance using up to 3 turn points
- Declared out-and-return distance
- Free distance around a triangular course
- Free distance using up to 3 position checkpoints
- Free out-and-return distance
- Speed around triangular courses of 25, 50, 100, 150, and all multiples of 100 km
- Speed over out-and-return courses of 100 and all multiples of 100 km
- Gain of height
- Number of consecutive valid rounds in FAI sanctioned competitions with a score of 0
- Number of consecutive valid rounds in FAI sanctioned competitions with a score of =<5cm together with the sum of those scores measured in cm.
- Number of Infinity tumbling rotations
- Number of Esfera rotations
- Number of Misty flip rotations
- Number of Twister rotations
- Number of Heli to SAT rotations
FAI proficiency badges are standards of achievement, which do not require to be renewed. They are intended to provide a graduated scale of difficulty to measure and encourage the development of a pilot’s flying skill, particularly in cross-country flying.
The Bronze badge should be achievable by most pilots within the first year of active flying, with the Silver following in the next year or two. The Gold badge should be achievable for most pilots within the first five years of cross-country flying. The Diamond badge should be achievable by perhaps half of all pilots within ten years of flying.
Since 2012, Badges for Paragliding Accuracy achievements are also available.
Description, requirements, special conditions and issues of badges are found in Section 7D.
The IPPI card was introduced in 1992. Since then, associations and pilots throughout the world have benefited from its internationally recognised standards.
The IPPI Card provides a standard reference by which all national rating programs may be compared. The SafePro Delta (for hang gliding) and/or SafePro Para (for paragliding) stage on the card reflects the pilot proficiency. For the pilot who flies outside of his known or local area, it is a quick and easy method of providing proof of flying experience and proficiency.
When a pilot travels abroad, the IPPI Card – together with the national rating card – will identify the pilot skills. It gives flying site managers, instructors and others responsible for hang gliding and/or paragliding flight operations an easy way of verifying the pilot experience level prior to approval of flight activities.
The IPPI Card is valid only together with a current national licence or rating card.
The IPPI Card is available in two ways
- Per IPPI level: The IPPI Card is physically bought and sold by the approved association to pilots who ask for it. It is not necessary to renew the IPPI Card except when a change in the pilot national licence invalidates the IPPI Card. For example, if the pilot receive a higher national ranking which corresponds to a higher stage in the SafePro system, a new IPPI Card should be issued.
- Per year: The IPPI Card is a logo on the pilot national licence. The approved association has agreed to issue the IPPI Card to all its licensed pilots for a small yearly fee. Licences are renewed every year, so your IPPI level can be adjusted accordingly.
Please note that:
- The IPPI Card does not give any insurance cover
- Flight safety is ultimately the pilot own responsibility
- CIVL encourages all pilots to use the IPPI card
FAI has established two types of awards:
- General awards (12)
- Awards for individual disciplines (30)
FAI can also appoint for life Companions of Honour. Finally, The Prince Alvaro de Orleans Bourbon Grant can be awarded every two years with the goal of supporting research and innovation focused on the advancement of sport aviation and simulated flying. These awards, Companions and grants are detailed in the Awards pages of FAI website.
CIVL is particularly concerned with two discipline-specific awards:
- The Hang Gliding and Paragliding Diploma (27 recipients). Established by the FAI in 1979, it may be awarded every year to an individual who is considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the development of hang gliding and paragliding by his or her initiative, work or leadership in flight achievement.
- The Pepe Lopes Medal (8 recipients). This Medal was established in 1993 in memory of Pedro Paulo ‘Pepe’ Lopes of Brazil who was the World Hang Gliding Champion in 1981. It may be awarded annually for outstanding contributions to sportsmanship or international understanding in the sport of hang gliding and paragliding.