18 Feb 2008

CIVL success in Mexico

With something for everyone, the CIVL Plenary meeting combined discussions, resolutions, clarifications, training and practical sessions. Diverse topics included new scoring software, new rules on team entries and scoring, resolutions on air marshals, progress on HG pitch stability discussions, continental championships for 2010 and a myriad details. The full minutes will be available very soon. The 2008 CIVL Plenary Meeting, held in Manzanillo, Mexico, in early February, featured something for everyone: pilots, competition organisers and airsports ambassadors, into hang gliding and paragliding, covering cross country, accuracy and aerobatics. Prior to the main meeting there were two days of subcommittee and working group meetings, giving delegates and experts the opportunity to catch up with, and contribute to, discussions in the main hang gliding and paragliding disciplines as well as in software development, safety & training, records & badges and the sporting code. A fully rigged topless hang glider, dominating the main meeting room, provided an ideal opportunity for HG subcommittee chair, Dennis Pagen, to give a practical demonstration of how to measure sprog settings. The Jury & Steward training seminar, run on Thursday evening, was attended by nearly 20 people. Some were old hands, revising their knowledge, but others were new volunteers, including competition pilots, keen to understand the roles of these important FAI officials. CIVL vice president, John Aldridge presided over the Plenary meeting in the absence of Flip Koetsier, who is recovering well after his recent operation. Also present was Pierre Portman, FAI President. The Agenda had been published well in advance, but no fewer than three new proposals were added at the start of the meeting (gaining the required two thirds majority agreement). Of interest to all potential competition organisers, is the Serbian proposal to ensure the host nation has the opportunity to field the maximum possible team size, irrespective of where they might be in the nations ranking. The UK, meanwhile, was concerned that with the strict team scoring rule for PG competitions, any injury to one of the three scoring members effectively ends that nation’s medal chances: the result was a proposal for a ‘reserve’ scoring team member. Finally, a resurgence of women hang gliding pilots demanded a reversal of the decision to quash team medals at the Women’s Worlds. All the proposals passed. Australia was keen to follow up its discussions over the past few months concerning the scoring of overlapping competitions and confusion over announcing reserve dates. All was amicably resolved, thanks to the good nature of the Australian delegate. Rule details The PG and HG SSCs agreed on a number of rules issues including restricting media flying, grounding competition and safety directors, and endorsing Air Marshals. But they differed in their treatment of some proposals, such as early start penalties, and the ending of speed sections before goal. Discussions and proposals on scoring software, CIVL database and WPRS were among the most popular over the four days. Agust Gudmundsson and Stein-Tore Erdal found time to demonstrate the new Flight Scoring (FS) software (download from http://fs.fai.org), complete with its innovative Wikipedia-style interactive feedback and user help system. Although not yet mandated for use in Cat 1 competitions, its developers believe it is robust enough already for widespread use this year, and will be tested extensively in Cat 2 events through 2008. Thanks should go to top HG competition pilot, and Moyes HG developer Gerolf Heinrichs, for his valuable contributions and offers of help in the pitch stability discussions, for his support of the promotion of the Sport Class alongside Class 1 events, and for his concern over safety following a new trend in ultra-lite uprights. The major news from the Accuracy camp is a new rule mandating Cat 1 organisers to provide video coverage of all landings, a controversial proposal from Turkey that will be put to the test later this year at the Europeans in Serbia. The Aerobatics SSC did not meet, however, as past chair, Yves Goueslain resigned mid year and a replacement has only just been agreed. But rule changes they had proposed were presented by John Aldridge, and Dennis Pagen updated the company on progress in HG and PG aerobatics as part of the 2009 World Air Games. Short on bids Category 1 competition bids were light on the ground this year, with only two presentations: Turkey bid for the 2010 European Paragliding Accuracy Championships, and Japan bid for the 2010 Asian Paragliding Championships. Both were successful, but this still leaves the Bureau seeking organisers for European championships in both hang gliding and paragliding in 2010, also for organisers in aerobatics and the combined womens and rigid wing world championships. Elections for the CIVL Bureau resulted in just one change, with Leonard Grigorescu (ROM) replacing Jim Zeiset (USA) as one of the four vice presidents. Flip Koetsier was returned unopposed as President. But there was widespread change in the chairs of the Subcommittees, with only John Aldridge (UK) and Dennis Pagen (USA) marking continuity on the Sporting Code and Hang Gliding SSCs respectively. New faces include Chris (Calvo) Burns (UK) now chairing the PG SSC, Pal Rognoy (NOR) takes over on Aerobatics, Jurij Vertacnik (SVN) is the new PG Accuracy chair, Safety & Training is now under the control of Scott Torkelson (DEN) and Stewart Midwinter (CAN) picks up the Records & Badges chair. Finally, Austria made a welcome bid to host the 2009 Plenary, which was accepted with a significant majority.