PMA confirm their Serial position

The Paraglider Manufacturers Association issued a statement reiterating their pro-Serial class position for FAI Cat1 events through their CEO Hans Bausenwein. This statement was revised on Fri 29 July and now reads as below.

The letter follows the suspension of Open Class competition paragliders from FAI CAT1 events following two fatalities at the Paragliding World Championships 2011 in Piedrahita, Spain.

An open letter to CIVL from the PMA

Dear John,
CIVL has imposed a suspension of the Competition Class paragliders after the tragic accidents during the Paragliding World Championship in Piedrahita.

The PMA can only confirm their position from the last PMA Annual General Meeting on September 16 2010 which stays the same and is still valid: “The PMA believe that from the material point of view a significant way to improve safety in FAI cat 1 competitions is to restrict them to EN – D gliders. Open class gliders have their place in competitions but FAI Cat 1 is not that place.”

This PMA decision as well as a letter by Ozones managing director Mike Cavanagh (in the annex) has been sent to CIVL as a recommendation to follow before their plenary in February 2011. Unfortunately CIVL decided differently in February but had to come back to the PMA recommendation 5 month later after more accidents did happen in the World Championship in Piedrahita.

Accidents are always the result of several factors.

The only safe alternative to the Competition Class paragliders in FAI Cat. 1 competitions which exists at the moment seem to be gliders which have been certified following the EN standard.

Of course the PMA does support the further development of the EN-standard for paraglider certification to include new technical developments.

As always there cannot be just one opinion within a manufacturers association. The above is the opinion of the PMA board of directors and the majority of members .

Hans Bausenwein

CEO Paraglider Manufacturers Association

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One Response to “PMA confirm their Serial position”

  1. Gregory Knudson
    July 24, 2011 at 8:26 am #

    Why not also give CIVL’s response to the PMA, as well as it’s official response for clarification on XC online contests? The DHV has done this as well (issued the PMA’s statement, but not mentioned CIVL’s response). It is really quite misleading and not proper journalism.

    Dear Hans,

    Thank you for giving me a clear statement on the current position of the PMA regarding Competition Class paragliders.

    However I am surprised that you suggest that the FAI World Online Contest is equivalent to a FAI 1st Category Event. This is clearly not the case and our online contest is not even ranked as a Category 2 event. As I explained in my earlier mail, this contest is a comparison of flights without set tasking and outside a normal competition environment, most of the flights are made individually and as a recreational flying activity. Each pilot gets to choose the location, route and conditions in which he makes such flights.

    Best regards

    John Aldridge

    President, CIVL

    I confirm that the CIVL Bureau believes that online contests are significantly different in nature to FAI 1st Category events and it does not see a need to recommend suspension of uncertified gliders from such contests. However the Bureau also recognises that, where online contests are run under the authority of NACs, those organisations are best placed to make such judgements.

    If further clarification of my earlier statements is needed, I confirm that the CIVL Bureau has suspended Competition Class paragliders only from FAI 1st Category events. For all other contests the appropriate NAC is the authority for making judgements about such matters. The Bureau has recommended that for FAI 2nd Category events with racing tasks the NAC should review participation of Competition Class paragliders but the authority to allow or forbid their participation remains with the NAC. The Bureau recognises that some NACs may need to take note of other factors, such as national legal opinion, insurance implications etc., in addition to purely safety issues.

    I have not copied this response to the CIVL Bureau mailing list as all Bureau members will receive this mail via one or more of the other addressee lists.

    Kind regards

    John Aldridge

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