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The annual gathering – Plenary - of the great and not-so-good in the International Parachuting Commission i.e. IPC (a part of the World Air Sports Federation (FAI) took place in Faro, Portugal on 28-29 January 2017. A 'Plenary' is defined as having all the members of a group or organisation present. In this instance the members comprise the IPC Delegates, plus Alternates where they exist, with 1 vote per Nation, not per Delegate.
It is the Plenary who listen, deliberate and vote to accept changes to the rules and regulations that will govern the competitive side of our sport for the coming year. In addition it is where formal bids for forthcoming FCEs are presented for consideration, which will determine the future competitions’ calendar. IPC Delegates in attendance represented 34 nations, with a further 8 nations by way of proxies. Other attendees were committee members, ie Official Observers, plus those responsible for presenting their bids to host future FCEs.
Prior to the formal Plenary taking place there are two full days of open meetings where the various discipline committees and working groups (finance, safety and training) put forward their plans for development and proposed changes, for Plenary approval.
Items under discussion invariably present themselves as a consequence of feedback received from various sources, including, but not limited to judges, organisers and competitors. It serves to emphasise the importance of sharing information, disagreements, hang-ups, criticisms or wish-lists at Competitors’ Meetings.
Most disciplines and working group presentations evoke intense discussion with lengthy debate from the floor. On conclusion of the open meetings, one last day is convened where the committee members and working groups gather to summarise their respective findings and proposals in closed meetings, prior to presenting to the Plenary.
Michael Egger, (Alternate Delegate AUT), Chair, had no changes to propose this year, making Para-Ski unique amongst the disciplines this year. They are looking forward to the World Championships in Austria in March 2017 and a bid to host the 17th World Championships in 2019 in the Czech Republic was accepted unanimously.
Gunter Berendt, (Alternate Delegate GER), Chair, talked about the problems at the Mondial 2016 and the lessons that had been learnt. These would be reflected in some of the proposed changes to the rules in conjunction with the Judges Committee, to the requirements of judging and scoring systems to be used at a First Category Event (World Championships, Continental Championships or World Cups). Agreed forthcoming competitions:
2017: European Championships in Montenegro 2018: World Championships in Bulgaria 2019: Argentina had bid to host the 2019 World Cups and this was accepted unanimously.
All the rule changes were 'housekeeping', allowing Juniors to be scored in the open events and were again accepted unanimously.
Mark Szulmayer, (Alternate Delegate AUS). There was nothing contentious in the rule changes they proposed. VFS - the pool had been increased to give a 10 round competition in line with other FS disciplines. They removed the requirement for the semi-final and final rounds to be jumped in the reverse order of placing, thus speeding up the actual running of the competition. They would still be judged in reverse order. The wording for Indoor 4-Way and VFS had been simplified to clarify the floor of the tunnel - in the airflow it was 'net', in the anti-chamber 'floor'. The definition for the transition between head-up and head-down has been changed to say “approximately vertical”. The committee obtained funding to redraw the dive pools so that grips are more clearly presented. They also brought the judging rules for the outdoor events in line with indoor, allowing a reduced speed viewing of 50-90%.
They brought the judging rules for the outdoor events in line with indoor, allowing a reduced speed viewing of 50-90%.
The committee had rejected the idea of competitors having the right to a re-evaluation. They also believed the Indoor Junior category was not yet ready for 10 round, and rejected the idea of multiple national teams in Junior and VFS, as this was outside the spirit of a World Championships. Finally they would not yet introduce an 8-way event into the Tunnel, as this would exclude many tunnels from bidding for a First Category Event.
When the vote was called for to approve the proposed changes, Sarka Blaskova, (Alternate Delegate CZE) asked that the rule change excluding a tunnel 8-way event be voted on separately. The other rules were accepted unanimously. The tunnel 8-way event failed to reach a simple majority in the vote.
Ron Miasnikov, (Delegate ISR), Chair acknowledged the growing participation in this discipline both at the Indoor and Outdoor competitions in 2016. As a result of an excellent workshop between competitors and judges at the Mondial, certain changes were proposed for AE Indoor and Outdoor. No longer will judges watch all performances of Round 1 before commencing judging. Now, the competitors will submit a video of their free routine 24hrs before the start of the competition. The judges will review each video and competitors can explain if they choose. This will give the judges a technical aspect of the performance. The objective is to make the judging less subjective. Compulsories will be split into 4 levels of difficulty and a team may choose which level they perform.
Now, competitors will submit a video of their free routine 24hrs before the start of the competition
For Indoor Dynamic a competitor Challenge will be introduced. Because Dynamic is judged live a competitor may challenge a judge's call - but they can only use this challenge once per competition. If the challenge is successful, they retain it for another use but if not, they lose it. The rule changes were voted on and accepted unanimously.
a competitor may challenge a judge's call
Rina Gallo, (Delegate CAN), Chair, then presented her report for Canopy Formation. As a committee they had discussed at length the definition and interpretation of a “foot grip” following the competitors’ meeting in Chicago after the Mondial. For the moment this will remain as is.
However, they also intended to relaunch the Web Challenge and for this challenge they would use the proposed foot grip definition of “contact”.
There had been a proposal from Canada to extend the build time, but the committee had also rejected this as a retrograde step in terms of the development of the sport, likewise they had also decided to continue without the “throw-away” round. All the rule changes proposed were clarifying definitions and general tidying up of the language. They were voted on and accepted unanimously.
Elisabet Mikaelsson, (Delegate SWE), Chair, presented the proposed changes for Speed Skydiving. There were very few rule changes but mainly by removing the semi-final and final rounds it became an 8 round competition and this meant some rule adjustment. A clarification of where to site the speed device; for safety reasons change from 8 to 6 per pass and a maximum exit altitude, which had been missing. All the rule changes were unanimously approved.
We then moved to the vote between the bids from Russia and Australia to host the combined World Championships in 2018. Both bidders had made their full presentations at the Open Meeting. A secret ballot took place, with Australia securing the bid.
World Championships 2018 for FS, CF, AE and SP will be held on the Gold Coast, Australia 4-13 October.
The 5 bidders for the WISC 2018 gave a brief summation of the full bids they had made during the Open Meeting.
Australia spoke about the smooth transition for competitors from their event in Sydney and then onto the WC on the Gold Coast which had just been awarded. They also spoke about their tunnel dimensions and the smooth air flow.
Sarka Balaskova, (Alternate Delegate, CZE) made a clever presentation for Slovakia, all in rhyme, emphasising the low cost presented by the location, the professional competitor-friendly experience of staff and tunnel, beautiful location, even if it was not immediately easy to get to.
Norway's bid was presented by Trudde Sviggum (Delegate) and _Hans Christian Amlie (Alternate) _in National Dress accompanied by a Norwegian Junior competitor They emphasised the experience of the tunnel and town organisation with regard to hosting large competitions. The fact that the tunnel was well known and loved by competitors from around the world was evidenced by their video testimonies which also showed Voss as an outstandingly, beautiful place.
Italy worked hard to overcome the objections to their bid raised by the committee - stating that the tunnel was in use by skydivers at the moment, although the interior of the building needed finishing touches to be done, the actual tunnel was operational
Bahrain showed their video again and welcomed questions from the floor. Gernot Rittenschober (Delegate AUT) asked why they were offering prize-money. President 'Exi' Hoenle stated there was nothing in our regulations preventing this and a precedent had been sent by the Russians in their CP FCE in Kolomna.
Mohammed Al-Delayle (Delegate QAT), Deputy Chair, proposed the following rule changes. For Junior events: a minimum age of 12 (providing the 13th birthday is reached during the year of the competition) with a max of 17. Junior events would be run separately (either am or pm) making shorter competition days. Only 15-17 year olds could compete in the open event.
They also proposed to the R & R committee the criteria a tunnel must obtain before submitting a bid and a revised timetable for bid submission and consideration. Bids could be accepted for the current year (if nothing on the Calendar), and two years following, so in 2018 Plenary they could consider bids for 2019 and 2020.
The vote for the WCIS 2018 bid was then taken, between Australia, Bahrain, Italy, Norway and Slovakia with Bahrain won the bid with a Simple Majority.
2018: 3rd FAI World Cup in Indoor Skydiving will be held in Kallaq, Bahrain 24 – 27 October.
Norway then asked that their bid for the European Championships 2018 be considered along with that of Slovakia, as Bahrain’s bid did not include these continental championships. The successful vote went to Norway.
2018: 1st FAI European Championships in Indoor Skydiving will be held in Voss, Norway 10 – 15 April.
Two bids to host the WISC 2019 between Germany and Italy, but neither received a simple majority in favour. The possibility to host the WISC 2019 will be decided between the bids meeting the 1st December 2017 deadline in January 2018, at the next Plenary. France had recorded a Letter of Intent to bid.
Alberto Martin Paracuellos, (Delegate ESP) Chair spoke of the rule changes proposed which were mainly tidying; revised accuracy grid centre to reduce tied scores, better defined specification for course markers and accuracy landing zone material, reducing number of FAI Judges. The committee had not agreed to change the scoring system to a simple ranking system. This would however be used at the World Games, 2017, Wrocow, Poland. All proposed changes were accepted unanimously. Patrice Girardin (Delegate, FRA) asked for a separate vote on the WG scoring system, which was taken but failed to reach a simple majority.
Alberto further confirmed that despite 'rumour' or 'fake news' the 9th World Cup in Canopy Piloting was still on course in Dubai, UAE 2017. The 7th World Canopy Piloting Championships 2018 would take place in Wroclow, Poland 1-8 July 2018 following a unanimous vote in favour.
John Smyth (Delegate GBR), Deputy Chair reported on proposed changes and the various discussions between committee members, competitors and judges over the past year, following the 1st World Championship in Performance Flying and World Cup in Acrobatic Flying, Z’Hills 2016. This had led to some resignations from the committee, notably Kate Charters and Jackie Harper.
As with all new disciplines there were strongly held opinions on all sides as to how this event should develop. The committee were working to try and co-ordinate all these ideas into a discipline that also meets IPC’s strategic plan of fast results, well presented and easy to understand competitions, whilst maintaining safety.
Some of the wishes of some competitors could not yet be met – in particular the wish for Acrobatic Flying to move from a working time to an altitude window. The current systems of recording were not accurate enough and not being fully developed would slow down judging – it would remain as is for the next two years. The changes proposed to Acrobatic Judging and Scoring will give credit for skill and the work of the camera-flyer (as in AE). In Performance there would be no reduction in altitude, however they will use a Geometric Altitude designated flight path. There will also be a Flight Director in the aircraft (if over 8 places) to assist with the jump runs and timing between exits, 600 mts. or 15 seconds. Again there were no questions and all the proposed changes were accepted unanimously.
Next came the vote on the FCE for 2017. There was only one bid, from Overton, Nevada, USA and once the price for a joint entry (both Performance and Acrobatic) had been clarified ($1545) a secret vote was called for. This resulted in the 2nd FAI World Cup in Wingsuit Flying being awarded to USA 1st – 9th November 2017.
It was then the turn of the 2018 bidders, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic. After the vote the Czech Republic won by quite a small difference: the 2018 2nd FAI World Championships in Wingsuit Flying will take place in Prostejov, Czech Republic, 28 August to 2 September 2018.
Technical and Safety
Gustavo Eduardo Reyes, (Delegate ARG) and his Committee do very valuable work and each year compile statistics from reports filled in by different NACs around the word. This gives information for all on accident trends and safety issues. The survey for 2015 was distributed to all the Delegates present and to continue this valuable work, they were encouraged to complete the survey for 2016. For the future the committee intended to include skydiving aircraft accidents.
Ronald Overdijk, (Delegate NED), Chair. The committee has the role to ensure that changes (other than Competition Rules) proposed by Committee Chairs and approved by the Plenary are correctly worded and incorporated into the various standard documents. i.e. Sporting Code, Section 5, IPC Internal Regulations, First Category Event Application Document (FCEAD) and the guides for the roles of IPC FAI Controller or Jury. All these documents can be found on the IPC pages of the FAI Website under the Documents heading along with the various Competition Rules. All the proposals for changes were accepted unanimously.
Bernard Nicolas (Alternate Delegate FRA). The two main items proposed by the committee were the new Accepted Judging and Scoring Systems document which would form a guide for organisers, providers and judges which will be included in the FCEAD and ultimately the Organiser Agreement, and a clearer definition of the role of Video Controller. Again all the proposed changes were accepted unanimously by the Plenary.
The following FAI/IPC Awards were agreed:
FAI Gold Parachuting Medal –B J Worth
Faust Vrancic Award – Klaus Rheinwald and Michael Cooper
A proposal was made for the creation of a Peter Pan Award in memory of Ty Baird for the Junior Freestyle World Champion in Indoor Skydiving. Carried unanimously.
IPC meet again next year in Sofia, Bulgaria, January 2018
The committees are always keen to hear from skydivers, all the details of the committee structure can be found on the FAI Website – as can a much fuller version of this report – and in a couple of weeks’ time the Minutes, which will include full details of all rule changes. You can find the names of all the Delegates HERE - useful for competitors to know who to lobby!