02 Dec 2017

Whats Up in Paragliding Accuracy - December 2017

General development during 2017

Paragliding accuracy (PGA) as a discipline continues to grow, especially in new countries and on new continents. There are now almost 2000 pilots and 56 nations in the WPRS. More than 10% of the pilots in the WPRS are female. 

The World Championships 2017 in Albania attracted many countries and pilots and it became obvious that the discipline has big possibilities for expansion and simultaneously it faces some significant challenges in order to guarantee the quality of future cat 1 competitions. The skill level between countries in pilots’ skills, competition organizing and judging vary and the PGA committee needs to focus on assisting the development to a common higher level.It is intended that the focus will be on organizing fair and satisfactory category 1 events with high safety levels and having a good rule framework for the category 2 events.

The number of category 2 competitions is steadily increasing. There were more than 60 category 2 events and new countries like Brazil, Mongolia and Ukraine are showing interest to organize their own events in the future. 

One Category 1 event was held in 2017 – the 9th FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championship in Vlora, Albania. Two test events for Cat 1 events in 2018 were held: in May in Pattanannikom, Thailand for the 1st Asian-Oceanian Paragliding World Championships and in September in Kobarid, Slovenia for the 6thEuropean Paragliding Accuracy Championship.

Five CIVL judging seminars were organized during the year: in Albania, Thailand, Estonia, Slovenia and Taiwan. The seminars follow a new syllabus and new material has been prepared for the seminars.

The CIVL Bureau has been liaising with the FAI Executive Board and Office about paragliding accuracy being a part of the Asian Games 2018. Also, a new Air Games Tour (AGT) including both PGA and Acro disciplines was discussed during the year. The Bureau and PGA Committee now awaits a further indication from the Board with regard to how this will develop and what support may be needed.

The discipline continues to have a good safety record, with a small number of minor incidents that occurred during the competitions during the 2017 season.

The Committee 

The paragliding accuracy committee has 17 members from 13 countries and Basecamp has been the main communication forum. Input has also been gathered from pilots and judges at competitions and via the judging seminars. The committee has been active, especially since the World Championships, and discussed a rewrite of the Sporting Code Section 7C including a number of rule changes. 

Summary of activity since last Plenary

The sport’s development and growing interest have resulted in many proposals for rule changes. The changes are reflected in the Section 7C proposal to the Plenary. The main changes in Section 7C are: 

•    Use of allocation in the future for the World Championships. This will result in smaller team sizes. 

•    Rules for Category 2 competitions to ensure comparability of the events which count to the WPRS. The WPRS is largely based on results from Category 2 competitions and there have been big differences in howCategory 2 competitions are organized. The Committee wants to include basic requirements for Category 2 in Section 7C, the requirements refer to for example judging, scoring and the set-up of the target area.

•    Smaller target (max 5 m measuring radius) in a category 1 event. 

•    Better standard of target area equipment:  to ensure quality and consistency of scoring at Cat 1 events, it is intended a set of automatic measuring and scoring equipment complete with two scoring pads will be bought by the CIVL to be used in Cat 1 and test events. 

•    Team scoring: the rules have been modified to follow the same principles as individual competitors with tied scores. 

•    FAI judges: At the beginning of 2017 a lot of effort was put into collecting information on judges, current training situation and the judges’ experience in different countries. It became clear that a central judging database is not a valid idea due to a large number of judges and competitions and varying experience levels. The PGA committee will, therefore, focus on keeping a record of Category 1 judges and provide judging training material and guidelines for NACs to organize judging training at a national level. The national judges can then proceed to judge in category 1 events. The PGA committee will need to work on publishing judging training material via the CIVL website. 

•    Judging seminars: the CIVL will primarily concentrate on organizing seminars in conjunction with Cat 1 and test events.

Review of Category 1 competitions during the year

The 9th FAI World Paragliding Accuracy Championship in Albania May 5th- 14 May 2017 was completed with 9 competition rounds. 28 nations and 147 pilots participated. After initial administrative difficulties, the event ran well and the pilots were satisfied with the positive atmosphere. Competition at the top was fierce and the results excellent. There were even tie-breaking flights for both the individual silver medal and team bronze medal. The competition attracted big media attention, for example, from Albanian National TV. The PR around the event was very good, culminating with the Albanian Prime Minister taking part in the awards ceremony.
A new World record
The World Championship also witnessed several pilots making three consecutive zero scores on a 2 cm dead centre pad, already exceeding the current World record. Anton Svoljšak of Slovenia took the record up one more level, making one more zero result and a new World record of 4 consecutive zero score landings on a 2 centimeter diameter target.

Upcoming 2018 Category 1 Competitions:

1st FAI Asian-Oceanic Paragliding Accuracy Championships. Test event took place in Pattananikom, Lopburi province of Thailand 22nd – 28th May 2017. As a result of running this event, it has been agreed that this will now be a winch tow event and the dates have been changed from May to April to avoid the rainy season. 

6th FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championship, Kobarid, Slovenia. Test event was held 21th – 24th September. The event was run very well with the experienced organization.

Other events

Asian Games 2018 in Indonesia will have paragliding accuracy as one of the aviation disciplines. 

Bids for category 1 competitions 

Two bids have been received for the 7thFAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championship. There is a bid from the Romanian NAC, the proposed location is Sibiu and dates 19th to 26th of September 2020. The other bid is from the Macedonian NAC, a location would be Prilep and dates 3rd to 11th of October 2020.  

Future developments

The accuracy committee will continue its work with the Sporting Code Section S7C and to support the development of paragliding accuracy discipline in new countries and competitions by new organizers. 

Discussions are ongoing about the future development of paragliding accuracy and ideas about new competition formats, such as a multi-place category. Pilot qualification criteria to category 1 events need to be discussed as well due to the increasing popularity of the discipline.