01 Mar 2011

CIVL Plenary votes for safety via certification

Delegates at the 2011 CIVL Plenary Meeting, held at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, 26th & 27th February, have taken some important steps towards improving safety in our sport. The move towards certified-only paragliders at Cat 1 Championships comes one step closer. In the interim, a new 'competition' class is introduced with immediate effect, effectively banning untested prototypes in Cat 1 competitions, and demanding competitors register their 'competition class' gliders, at least 30 days before the event. Despite the failure of the UK proposal to restrict Cat 1 events to EN-certified gliders from 2012, which had the support of the majority of members of both the PMA and the EHPU, the extensive discussions enabled Delegates to understand that all parties are looking forward to the time when only certified gliders will be allowed to compete in the FAI's most prestigious paragliding events. While the initial effect of the UK proposal would have been to limit entry to the existing EN-A to EN-D certification, the Open Class Technical Working Group (OCTWG) is accelerating its efforts to produce a new certification for today's higher performance gliders. Thanks to a proposal from France, the OCTWG will now renew its efforts, not only to continue to improve the 'competition class' self-certification just introduced, but to work towards producing a new EN standard as soon as possible. 12th FAI Paragliding World Championships Piedrahita The Spanish organisers had already alerted CIVL to financial problems, which they hinted might put the championship at risk. Although the CIVL Bureau would not, on its own, sanction an increase in the pilot fee, the request was added to the Plenary Agenda for delegates to decide. Meet director, Steve Ham, on behalf of the organisers explained that the world financial crisis had hit Spain particularly hard, and that funds promised by a key institutional sponsor were no longer forthcoming. The Plenary agreed to the requested increase in pilot entry fees, from €380 to 478€, with Delegates noting that while this is hard on pilots not supported by their NACs, and on those nations that competed with Spain two years ago to hold the championship, it was better to avoid the risk of the championship being cancelled altogether. But the organisers had one disappointment. A proposal to allow the Compcheck scoring system to be approved for Cat 1 events failed, even after an amendment effectively restricting the request only to this one event. Other paragliding news New rules have been put in place for scoring tasks with no pilot in goal, and for scoring stopped tasks with no pilots in goal. The aim is to avoid losing the opportunity of scoring a long task where pilots have flown for a significant time. (See the minutes of the Paragliding Subcommittee meeting, which will be published at: www.fai.org/hang_gliding/meetings/plenary/2011 The harness rule introduced last year to be effective this year has been modified: “All pilots in Category 1 events must fly with a harness certified to EN1651, LTF03 or LTF09. The harness must be equipped with a back protector certified to LTF09 or LTF03.” Hang gliding headlines The Danish proposal to improve safety in Category 1 events, by tightening up entry criteria was accepted with minor modifications. Previously, pilots scored in the top 2/3 of any Cat 2 event in the past 3 years were eligible to enter a Cat 1 event. This has been scrapped in favour of a new rule based on accruing 20 WPRS points and to have flown in a competition of at least 30 pilots in the previous 3 years. This rule will not impact this year’s championships at Monte Cucco as registration will already be closed by the time the new rule becomes effective. In addition, the 15 minimum number of participants to validate a Class 1 hang gliding Category 2 competition has been removed. Other safety initiatives include extended testing and measurement to enhance pitch stability metrics and a new ruling for reinforced control bars. Accuracy & Aerobatics Both Subcommittees have revised their Judging Codes. New manoeuvres have been added to the Aerobatics scoreboard, replacing a couple that have been deemed too dangerous for competitions. The Paragliding Accuracy SC is preparing to run Judging seminars in Cali, Colombia in support of the 2013 World Games. FAI airsports represented include Parachuting canopy piloting and indoor modelling displays as well as Paragliding Accuracy. The Aerobatics SC is exploring new formats for competitions and shows. Judging training will be taking place in Europe and the US. An increase in Cat 2 competitions is anticipated in 2011. Both disciplines wish to set up Records as soon as possible. 2013 Championship bid awards Three bids were presented for the 2013 FAI Paragliding World Championships. Bulgaria won by a significant majority over Portugal and Turkey. For hang gliding, only one bid was on the table. Bill Moyes came to Lausanne from Australia expressly to present the bid from Forbes. Already a veteran host for FAI Championships, the bid was accepted. First timer, Bosnia and Herzegovina made an excellent presentation for the 2013 FAI Paragliding Accuracy Championship, and this too was accepted without hesitation.Software Working Group Following a successful trial over the last two years, the WXC Online contest is now an official and permanent feature of the CIVL competition scene. The Plenary agreed that the current contest, underway since 1 Oct 2010, should be the first official WXC Online Contest. Winners will receive FAI Diplomas after the results are announced in October 2011. Revised GAP documentation is now available on the FAI website at: www.fai.org/hang_gliding/competitions/gap Comments and feedback are welcome. Elections John Aldridge remained uncontested as CIVL President. One of his primary aims for 2011 is to revise the CIVL Long Term Plan, setting some strategic direction for our disciplines. He commented: “If all the subcommittees and working groups work as hard this year as the OCTWG worked during the past year, CIVL will make excellent progress.” The results of the other elections for CIVL Bureau and Subcommittee chairs are reported in the minutes and can be found on the appropriate website pages.