CIVL Plenary Report

The NZHGPA thanks Hamish Barker for being our representative at the CIVL Plenary 2015. His report is as follows...

Report from the 2015 CIVL Plenary, Belgrade, Serbia 19-22 February 2015
by Hamish Barker (Australian CIVL Delegate, also assigned to use the
NZ proxy vote at this plenary).

The 2015 CIVL plenary took place in Belgrade, Serbia, from Thursday 19
Feb to Sunday 22 Feb 2015. Although by default the CIVL plenary is
held in Lausanne, Switzerland, for 2015 a bid was received and
successfully voted on at the 2014 Plenary for the 2015 plenary to be
held in Belgrade, Serbia. Notable among the bid's good points was that
the national aero club of Serbia had managed to get an EU grant, which
made it possible for them to cover the accommodation and food for
delegates and CIVL bureau members. This meant potential savings for
the federations of each attending delegate, so of course it was voted

For this plenary, I arranged with the New Zealand Hang Gliding and
Paragliding Association to carry also the New Zealand proxy vote in
addition to the Australian vote (as Australian delegate), in exchange
for the NZHGPA paying a portion of the airfare to the plenary. Due to
work committments at a new job, I wasn't able to book the airfare
until fairly late, so although I didn't have (hardly) any hotel and
food expenses (which when the plenary is held in Switzerland are
usually about 180+ AUD /day, but can be reduced if one is willing to
walk further from the normal plenary venues), the airfare was
expensive, and the overall cost about the same as other years.

I have been Treasurer of the CIVL Bureau (the board, in French), for
the last three years (or is it four?), and so I had also prepared to
present the CIVL accounts at the plenary. CIVL's accounts are not as
complex as one might expect for an international sporting association.
Income is limited to just a few categories: sanction fees for
continental and world championships (category 1 events), sanction fees
for category 2 events (eg. national and other hang gliding and
paragliding competitions each pay a sanction fee of one entry fee to
CIVL in payment for the official CIVL sanction, giving a place on the
CIVL calendar, and (most importantly for competitors) WPRS (world
pilot ranking system) points for participating competitors. Additional
CIVL income comes from selling blank IPPI (International Pilot
Proficiency Information) cards to national federations. For further
details on IPPI cards, see the CIVL website.
There are a few hundred category 2 events held per year, spread over
the disciplines of paragliding (xc), hang gliding (xc, note there are
several HG subcategories), paragliding accuracy and paragliding
aerobatics. The majority comes from paragliding events.

The full agenda (and when they are compiled, the minutes of meeting)
for the plenary are available on the CIVL website. I will not
reproduce them here but rather concentrate on the items which are of
likely importance to australian and nz pilots (and that I can remember
without the minutes in front of me)

1. Altitude measurement.
The bureau made a decision during it's mid-term meeting that for
future category 1 events, altitude measurements recorded in tracklogs
must be based on barometric pressure, and not on GPS altitude as has
been common for a number of years. The main reasons for the change are
that airspace boundaries are defined in terms of barometric altitude,
not GPS altitude, and GPS altitude is not accurate enough, especially
when pilots are being penalised for being close to or over airspace
limits. Also, if there is ever to be a chance to re-implement
altitude-based bonuses in the scoring (to encourage less hazardous
final glides or other situations) as was abortively and unpopularly
trialled at the 2014 European championships, GPS altitude is not
accurate enough.  An important factor in the implementation by
instrument manufacturers must be that it must not be possible to
recalibrate the barometric altimeter during flight (or at least not
without clearly showing any such recalibration in the track log), so
that nobody cheats at airspace height limits by just readjusting their

2. WPRS ranking equation changes.
Three proposals had been variously discussed in the paragliding
subcommittee, but unfortunately were not documented clearly enough nor
completely worked through, so they were withdrawn. The proposals were
to increase the amount of time until a pilot's earned WPRS points
start to degrade (good for Aus/NZ pilots who probably can't afford to
go to the big-WPRS-scoring euro comps every season, to decrease the
number of required pilots for a fully valid comp (also good for Aus/NZ
pilots whose comp fields are not as big as some european events, and
to change the pilot quality weighting factor on amount of points
available to a comp. Also would have been good for Aus/NZ pilots since
the high quality euro comp fields get more and more wprs points, while
our home comps don't get much, then the pilots are lower ranked, and
the wprs points available to be earned at home comps spirals down.  So
it was a big disappointment for me (and other non-european country
CIVL delegates) to not get these proposals through. But we simply have
to do the work to implement the changes in a test formula, run the
modified WPRS calculations and compare the resulting rankings with
actual competition results of later dates to PROVE that the changes
will provide a more accurate (and fairer for us non-euro nations) wprs
ranking system. I have a few people to work with on this from various
countries, so have good hopes for it to be achieved in time for the
next plenary with rock solid votable proposals.

2a. Changed WPRS ranking/points criteria (minimum) for world or
european championship entry, paragliding:
the plenary voted to reduce criteria for entry to Paragliding world
championships and european championships (which I'm pretty sure all
the relevant pilots have already heard about) to top 500 WPRS ranking
or earned 40 WPRS points in a single event, in the past 2 years. The
original proposal was to extend this to three years but that part did
not get enough votes. Three years would have been beneficial for
Australian and New Zealand comp pilots who might be able to make a big
effort to get a season-worth of qualifying events in europe every
second year or so. The proposal was strongly criticised by Switzerland
and Germany and UK delegates as a big watering down of safety. But
there were plenty of contesting arguments that there is not a great
deal of evidence that using WPRS ranking is a good measure of safety.
Rebuttal to this was that it's currently the only measure (arguable
either way). Anyway, reducing the threshold qualification criteria is
good for improving the possibility for Australia and New Zealand to
field a full team to future championships.

3. World Championship Bids.
There was an unprecedented number of bids for world championships. 1
for hang gliding worlds 2017, for Brazil, (with goals in Brasilia, in
the middle of the capital!), was successful since that was the only HG
worlds bid. 1 bid was for 2016 HG european champs to be held in
Kruschevo, Macedonia. By all accounts a stunning place to fly, a huge
open valley about 30km across, with mountain ranges each side and big
potential variety in task setting. 1 bid for paragliding aerobatics,
to be held in Annecy, France. Not sure if any Australian or NZ pilots
are potential entrants, but something to think about if anyone is.
3 bids for paragliding accuracy, from China, Germany and Albania. The
Albanian bid was successful. They were ecstatic. I don't know of any
Australians or New Zealanders doing paragliding accuracy, but the
winning bid is mostly free (i.e. entry fee, accommodation, probably
parties etc.), so if by any chance someone feels like going, it's
probably a good idea to organise a couple of home events first.
Seven (7!) bids for paragliding xc worlds 2017. Switzerland, Austria,
Portugal, Turkey, Italy, Brazil and Slovenia.  There were three rounds
of voting, and neither of the bids which the Australian comp committee
instructed me to vote for (Portugal, knocked out in the first round,
and Turkey, got through to the third round but was pipped by the
Italian Bid) was successful. The New Zealand competition pilots hadn't
given strong preferences except perhaps Slovenia, but it was knocked
out in the second voting round (which was between Italy, Turkey and
Slovenia).  The location for the 2017 paragliding world championships,
Feltre, Italy, is close to Bassano, and should still give an excellent
championship, although of course with more alpine conditions than our
Australian pilots are usually flying at home, it might be a good idea
for prospective 2017 team members to think about planning trips to the
region for training up in the two european seasons available before
the 2017 meet.

4. CIVL Competition Class Paraglider weight ranges
When the CIVL competition Class paraglider definition ruleset was
voted in by the 2014 plenary, the top weight of the smallest size was
set at 100kg, with a scheduled reduction down to 90kg for 2015. A
proposal from germany was put forward to extend the delay in bringing
down the 90kg limit for another year. On the plus side, this would
make CCC glider development and certification cheaper for
manufacturers. But a big downside would be that it would be throwing
away one of the key original goals of the CCC project, which was to
ensure that competitive gliders be available for the widest possible
weight range of pilots. Failing to provide the smallest sizes is
considered to be particularly bad for participation of women in top
level paragliding comps, since they either can't get a competitive
glider in their size, or have to fly with maximum ballast, risking
injury in any less-than-perfect landing situation with nearly half
their body weight in ballast.  Thankfully, the proposal was defeated
and new CCC gliders must provide a smallest size with a top weight no
more than 90kg. There is a risk that one or more of the current
manufacturers might decide that the cost of CCC certification is now
too high and drop out, reducing the range of manufacturers' gliders
for pilots to choose from. But personally, I think CIVL has to take
that risk in order to serve the sporting interest of having
competitive gliders available to a bigger range of pilot weights. If
we have a problem of manufacturer diversity in the future, maybe other
ways can be sought to fix that rather than just giving up on the light
(and heavy) weight pilots.

5. Task Setting Project
A meeting was held which attempted to draw together the experience of
a number of international meet organisers present at the plenary and
to begin to put together a set of guidelines for task setting to be
published by CIVL. The aim being to promote good task setting not only
for the sportive aspects, but also because it is recognized that task
setting including meteo, terrain, and pilot experience factors is of
no small importance to safety in top level competitions, where the
pilots will fly where (and when) they are sent. Copious notes were
made, a draft is being put together, and will be circulated (I will
personally make sure that it also gets to Australian task setters for
their input, since I have been appointed as chair of the working
group) for revision before hopefully becoming a useful resource for
future competitions.

6. New CIVL President and new CIVL Bureau members.
The CIVL Bureau is now elected on a two-year cycle. Outgoing CIVL
president Agust Gudmundsson was recently elected to the FAI Executive
Board, which is a great thing for our sports of hang gliding and
paragliding, to have a "friend in high places", but on the down side
he is not allowed to remain as an airsport commission president and
also sit on the FAI Exec. So Stephane Malbos, tireless CIVL Vice
President with a prodigious work output, was elected president. Vice
presidents Igor Erzen (Slovenia) and Goran Dimiskovski (Macedonia, and
also President of the paragliding world cup association) remained on
the bureau, as did Secretary Jamie Shelden (USA) and new treasurer
(formerly CIVL Vice president) Zeljko Ovuka (Serbia). New bureau
members were Adrian Thomas (UK) and Wahyu Yudha (Indonesia).

 I was treasurer in the previous term but did not stand for
re-election because it's a  lot of work and I have a new son, new job
and new career demanding a higher priority of my time and attention.
The new blood on the bureau is anyway a good thing, hopefully they
will bring good outcomes for our sports.

The above are the main issues which I can recall from the 2015 plenary
in Belgrade. It was a tough one for me as I had the 'flu from day one
right through to and during my return flight. Further details will be
available in the full minutes of meetings when they are finished and
published on the FAI/CIVL website.

My sincere thanks to the HGFA board and competitions committee, and to
the NZHGPA executive and paragliding competitions committee for the
continuing support and no small amount of our associations' precious
finances to ensure that Australia and New Zealand votes have continued
to play their part in CIVL's now 40 year history.

Hamish Barker
CIVL Delegate, Australia

National Paragliding Ladder Updated

Now includes results from Corryong and Auckland competitions.

You can find the new ladder here

Auckland Regional Comp - The Last Blast

There will be one more Auckland Regional Paragliding Competition before the end of the season - this is probably the last final competition of the NZ season.

For details contact organiser or on 021 056 2275

Updates on the event will be maintained on the Auckland Google Plus Event

Support/Adventure Safety Systems Workshops

The Tourism Industry Association (TIA) is running fifteen Support/Adventure Safety Systems Workshops around the country over March & April this year.

The FREE three-hour workshops are aimed at ALL operators working in the adventure and outdoor sector, covering:

  • new safety initiatives and sector developments
  • effective review and continual improvement strategies for hazard management, incidents, staffing, emergencies and equipment
  • how to make the most of Activity Safety Guidelines and other sources of good practice
  • ideas to improve safety systems
  • tips and lessons learnt from other operators experiences
CAA will be present at some presentations.

To register or for more information go to the Support Adventure website, or directly to safety-systems-workshop.