UPDATE: 12.30pm GMT
Piedrahita2011′s Twitter feed reports:
A working group is discussing now to find a way to go on with as safe and as fair as possible tasks to go on with the championship.
A proposal for improving competition safety has been posted on the Piedrahita2011 website. It suggests turning the competition into an open distance competition rather than racing tasks.
“Flying XC style tasks will remove the need for gliders to be flown outside their safer limitations.”
The removal or limiting of pilots’ speedbars is also under discussion. This would stop pilots racing on ‘full bar’ with the speed system operating at its maximum. It says:
“Mechanical restrictions on speed bars and trimmers may not possible at this stage (but perhaps removal completely of the speed system).”
10am, Friday 8 July 2011
The Paragliding World Championships 2011 have been temporarily stopped. The move comes following the death of two pilots in Task 2 on 6 July 2011.
Organisers of the competition have published a statement, unsigned, on the competition website dated 7 July. The statement reads in full:
7th July – Competition Temporarily Stopped by FAI
The FAI has taken the decision of temporarily stopping the competition. In the meantime, the organisers, together with team leaders have been working on a way to go ahead with the competition in such a way that, remaining within the local regulations as well as Section 7, the more dangerous stages of speed race tasks (waiting close to the ridge for the start gate to open and a fast final glide to goal in turbulent air at the time where thermal activity is still too strong) can be avoided as much as possible.
To achieve that, a different type of tasks are proposed in which cross country will prevail over pure speed. In this way, pilots will not have to hang around the ridge after taking off and big gaggles close to the ridge waiting for the start gate to open can be avoided. And by setting a goal which is far away enough to have them flying at least till 19:00 hours, flying too fast to goal with strong thermal activity can be avoided as well. In order that pilots don’t fly fast near the ground, the arrival time of each pilot will be taken from his/her instrument’s altitude at 300 metres above the ground.
Also further restricted areas are proposed to prevent pilots entering rotor areas such as the Villatoro Pass and the Tornavacas Pass, which will have to be crossed above a minimal height.
The manufacturers present at the championship will address pilots in a mandatory meeting in which they will discuss the implications of flying two liners and will show them some videos of the test flights they made during their development.
Friday 8 July, there will be working groups discussing these proposals and the results will be presented to the FAI officials so that they can take a decision about whether they want to competition to go on or not.
Asked for clarification, an FAI spokesman told us: “The Jury President, Vitor Pinto, has temporarily stopped the championship under Rule 2.9.5 of Section 7B of the FAI Sporting Code while the safety aspects of the championship are reviewed. We have also noted that the Local Authority in Piedrahita has declared two days of mourning and understand the organiser would suspend flying for that period.”
Pilots in Piedrahita will hold a memorial gathering at 8.30pm this evening Friday 8 July for the two pilots who died on Wednesday. The memorial gathering in Piedrahita town square will also commemorate Xavier Murillo, who has been missing for a week in Peru and is now presumed dead after his glider was spotted by a plane high on Huascaran Norte.
Xavier was a pivotal figure in the Paragliding World Cup Association and many of the pilots flying at the World Championships knew him well.
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