FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission
Established in 1975, Commission Internationale de Vol Libre (CIVL – Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission) is an Air Sport Commission (ASC) of the Fédération Internationale Aéronautique (FAI), founded in 1905 in Paris, France, and today based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Alongside our disciplines, FAI structures its activities under eleven other ASCs: Aerobatics, Aeromodeling, Amateur Built and Experimental Aircraft, Astronautic Records, Ballooning, General Aviation, Gliding, Microlight and Paramotors, Parachuting, Motorcraft, General Airsport.
FAI and all ASCs, including CIVL, each have their own dedicated FAI websites.
This document is designed to provide an introduction to CIVL, and supplementary to the official reference documents, including FAI and CIVL Statutes, By-Laws, Internal Regulations, Terms of Reference, Sporting Codes, etc.
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 here. Only Active members can vote at the annual General Conference.
Air Sport Commissions also have voting power at the General Conference.
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 Vice-Presidents have specific voting powers on some matters. Are FAI Vice President: the Presidents of Air Sport Commissions and representatives of NACs that are FAI Active members.
Technical commissions have been established to cover cross-commission matters: Aviation and Space Education, Airspace and Navigation Systems, Environmental, Medico-Physiological.
FAI Secretariat is responsible for day to day operation of FAI.
CIVL is organised according to itsand for Committees, Working Groups and Technical Officers, all established by its Plenary.
Internal Regulations and Terms of References must not be in conflict with FAI Statutes and By-Laws.
The working language of CIVL is English.
Each nation member of FAI may appoint a Delegate and Alternate Delegate to represent its interests within CIVL. All Delegates are listed here. 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. Current Bureau members are listed here.
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. Their Terms of Reference are agreed by the Plenary. All CIVL Officers and officials must have the support of their NACs.
Current Committees are: Aerobatics Competition - Hang Gliding Competition - Paragliding Accuracy Competition - Paragliding Competition.
Current Working Group are: Software (permanent).
Current Technical Officers are: Communication - Competition - Environmental Affairs - Jury and Steward - Record and Badges - Safety - Sporting Code.
Training (to be appointed) - World Games Liaison Officer.
Other temporary appointments are: Pilot Entry Screening Committees.
Committees and Working Group members and Chairs, Technical Officers are listed here.
CIVL Plenary traditionally meets every year in mid-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. Nevertheless, as the CIVL Plenary usually takes part in mid February, the President and financial reports 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 three days before the Plenary (usually Wednesday). Committees and Working Groups Open meetings are set two days before the Plenary (usually Thursday and Friday). The Plenary is spread over two days (usually Saturday and Sunday).
- A Plenary vote on any item is valid only if the item has been moved and seconded. Committees and Working Groups are encouraged to use the same procedure during their pre-Plenary meetings.
- 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 (more than half of the votes cast - blank or spoilt included, abstentions not included). All proposals concerning changes to the Sporting Code, the Internal regulations or Terms of reference require a 2/3 majority vote.
- Elections of Officers and bids for organizing Category 1 Events or Plenaries are decided by secret vote. If there is only one candidate, the vote might be by acclamation.
Reports and minutes
Committees and Working GroupsOpen meetings are summed-up in reports that are examined and voted on by the Plenary. Plenary minutes and reports (and archives of past Plenaries) are published no later than 45 days after the Plenary.
- Plenary minus 60 days: NACs’ proposals and Cat 1 Championship bids sent to FAI or CIVL.
- Plenary minus 45 days: Agenda sent to Delegates.
- Plenary minus 3 days: Bureau meeting.
- Plenary minus 2 days: Commissions and Working Group meetings.
- Plenary during 2 days.
- Plenary plus 45 days: minutes published.
Plenary agenda, reports, minutes and news in general are published here.
Every 2 years the Plenary elects a new Bureau. The Bureau includes a President, one First Vice-President, three Vice Presidents, an Administrative 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.
Bureau members are called CIVL Officers. Their election procedures, their duties and powers are described in CIVLCurrent Bureau members are listed here.
The Bureau holds formal physical meetings twice a year. Its first meeting is scheduled in September, October or November. Its second meeting is scheduled just before the Plenary. The date, place and agenda of these meetings are agreed upon between Bureau members. Minutes of Bureau meetings and archives of past Bureau meetings are published under “Meetings”.
Most of the Bureau exchanges and work is done through Basecamp software, 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 Bureaux.
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. The current Website Content Officer can be reached here.
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 Info lists offered by FAI here.
FAI and CIVL Sporting Code
The General Section of FAI Sporting Code deals with matters that are common to all Air Sport Commissions in three major areas:
- organized sporting events such as competitions and championships;
- validation of specified performances for certificates of proficiency or badges.
The General Section chapters:
- FAI authority – responsibilities.
- Sporting Events.
- Observers and Officials.
- Penalties - protests.
- World Records.
- Flight Measurement and Control.
- Sporting Licences.
- Appeals before FAI.
The General Section is the responsibility of the Air Sport General Commission (CASI).
CIVL, as other Air Sport Commissions is responsible for the specific rules and procedures that applies to its disciplines. These are defined in the different Sections 7 of the FAI Sporting Code:
- Common Section 7 for all disciplines.
- Section 7A for paragliders and hang gliders crosss country (classes 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5).
- Section 7B for paragliders aerobatic
- Section 7C for paragliding accuracy.
- Section 7D for records and badges (hang gliders and paragliders).
When needed (in fact every year), the CIVL Plenary adjusts its Sections 7 rules. Unless specified otherwise, all new rules are implemented on the 1st of May following the Plenary.
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 Category 1 events, and International sporting events classified as Category 2 events.
Category 1 Events
World and Continental championships as well as World Air Games are FAI Category 1 events. CIVL Continental and World championships are run in alternate years. Category 1 events are managed according to Sections 7A, B and C, in conjunction with the General Section 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. The Orgaizer Agreement must be signed at the time of the presentation of the bid. All bids are examined by the appropriate Committee and then voted by the Plenary. A pre-World or pre-Continental event is organized one year before the World or Continental 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 pages of CIVL website under "Event Organisers". General informations about organising FAI events are also available on CIVL website.
- Championship minus 3 years: letter of intention to bid.
- Championship minus 2 years: bid to the Plenary.
- Championship minus 1 year: pre-World or pre-Continental Category 2 event.
Category 2 Events
FAI Category 2 Events are… whatever is not Category 1!
CIVL events are managed according to Chapter 4 of Sections 7A, B and C, in conjunction with the General Section. They must follow “as far as appropriate” the rules of Category 1 events and must not conflict with them “in principle”, which leaves enough room to organizers to adjust to their specific needs.
Most documents available to help organizers of Category 1 Events can be used by organizers of Category 2 Events:
- The Practical guidelines for organisers of competitions.
- Other documents available in the Document pages of CIVL website.
- General informations about organising FAI events are available here.
The organiser's NAC must approve the event.
- Applicationand payment must be sent at the same time to the CIVL Competition coordinator at least 30 days before the start of the competition.
- 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 Category 1 Events. A CIVL-appointed Steward is present at pre-World or pre-Continental competitions.
The Steward is the neutral and independent element between the organisers and the competitors. The Steward interacts with the 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. The Steward reports back after the events to CIVL.
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 will rule on protests which may affect the outcome of individual pilot or team scores. This factor will also affect meet officials if re-scoring or rule interpretations are indicated.
Job description and duties are defined in CIVL Jury and stewards handbook.and
Training is provided for Jury and Stewards through seminars organized each year during the CIVL Plenary and by shadowing experienced CIVL Officials at events.
All matters concerning Jury and Stewards are overseen by the Jury & Steward Coordinator, who reports to the CIVL President. The coordinator maintains the database of volunteers and communicates with them about upcombin Category 1 and Test Events. His recommendations are forwarded to the CIVL Bureau for ratification.
Accuracy and Aerobatic Judges
Both Paragliding Accuracy and Aerobatic competitions require the presence of judges.
- In Paragliding Accuracy, 5 judges from at least 3 nations are required.
- In Aerobatic, 3 judges from at least 2 nations are required.
Relevant chapters of Section 7 describe the specific duties and roles of these judging teams. The Paragliding Accuracy and Aerobatic sub-commissions organise training sessions for their judges. Databases of qualified Judges are maintained on the CIVL website.
The World Pilot Ranking System (WPRS) was created in 1998. 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 Category 1 and 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. Current formulas are shown in the each category page. Former formulas are here.
Today, more than 8 000 pilots from 55 nations 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.
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 Category 1 or 2 competitions in the last few years you should be). By going to the Register 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. Some 4663 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 Category 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 here. 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. Hang gliding and paragliding have records for the following flights:
- Straight distance to a declared goal.
- Declared out-and-return distance.
- Free out-and-return distance.
- Distance around a declared triangular course.
- Free distance around a triangular course.
- Free distance using up to 3 turn points.
- 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.
Records may be claimed in the following categories:
- General (solo pilot).
- Multiplace (tandem flight).
To be recognised as a new record:
- All distance flights must exceed the previous record by a minimum of one kilometre.
- Speed flights must exceed the previous record flight performance by 1%.
- Gain of height record must show an improvement of 3% or a minimum of 100 m.
Rules and documentation required are to be found in FAI General Section and. Current records and guidelines to set a record are available on CIVL website in the Record chapter.
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 issue of badges are found in chapter 2 of.
The IPPI card was introduced in 1992. Since then, national associations and pilots around the world have benefitted from CIVL’s internationally recognised standards: Safe Pro (for hang gliding) and Para Pro (for paragliding). The card provides a standard reference against which all national rating programs may be compared.
CIVL’s pilot rating systems reflect pilot proficiency. For the pilot who flies outside of his known area or travels abroad, it is a simple method of providing proof of flying experience and proficiency. The IPPI card - together with the national rating card - identifies the pilot skills. It gives flying site managers, instructors and others responsible for hang gliding and/or paragliding flight operations a start point towards verifying a pilot’s experience level prior to approval of flight activities.
The IPPI Card is issued by the national hang gliding and paragliding associations. CIVL encourages all pilots to use the IPPI card and all national associations to promote it.
All information concerning the IPPI Card, including samples, application forms, recognition and use are published in the IPPI Card pages of CIVL website.
FAI has established two types of awards:
- General awards (12).
- Awards for individual disciplines (30).
FAI can also appoint for life Companions of Honour. 33 have been honoured in this way (up to October 2011). 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 Diploma (24 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 (5 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.