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9th World Microlight Championships 2003 : a successful event
15/09/2003 | Posted by JeanMarc at 05:35 PM

Magnificent fireworks to music display closed successful competitions on Saturday 30th August : 18 nations flew in the competition, including, for the first time, pilots from Saudi Arabia and Finland. Keith Negal, Chief Executive of the 9th World Microlight Championships, reports on this event.

From the moment the Red Arrows blazed their first trail of red, white and blue smoke across the blue skies over Long Marston on Saturday 23rd August to the starry burst of the last firework in the clear night sky a week later, the 9th World Microlight Championships was an exceptional event. Eighteen nations flew in the competition, including, for the first time, pilots from Saudi Arabia and Finland. The furthest travellers came from Japan.

History of The Championships
The first international microlight competition to be held under the auspices of airsport's international governing body, the FAI, was at Millau in France in 1985. Since then such FAI events have taken place every year but two, with World and European Championships held in alternate years. South Africa, Hungary, Poland, France and Czechoslovakia have all hosted competitions and, as part of the two World Air Games, Spain and Turkey have also been venues. The last World Championship to be held in the UK was at Haverfordwest's Withybush airfield in 1988 and the 1995 European Championships were held at Little Rissington.

Bidding Process
The process from bidding for a World Championship is a long one. Two years ahead of the event countries that would like to host the competition present their case to the FAI Microlight Commission at its annual meeting in Lausanne, Switzerland, home of the FAI. They must show that they have the team, skills, resources and a suitable site. In 2001 Britain and France staked a claim, the French bid being for a Tunisian event. In fact, the British contingent quite liked the idea of a north-African competition and offered to concede, but Tunisia failed to meet some of the FAI criteria and the UK won the day.

Putting Together a Management Team
Putting a strong team together was not a problem although experience of running an international event was thin on the ground. The two Competition Directors, Richard Meredith-Hard and Rob Keene were World and European Champions respectively and the Chief Marshal, Jeremy Hucker, was a European silver medallist. The remainder of the management team had extensive experience of competing in international events. Richard Meredith-Hardy was the only member of the team to have run an international before - this was his fifth.

Selecting a Competition Venue
Carlisle and Bembridge (Isle of Wight) airfields were interested in hosting the competition. Long Marston was offered to the organisers by Anthony Hodges, a keen Provost pilot who went on to offer his unstinting help throughout, and its size and central location with plenty of open airspace made it an attractive choice.
With most airsports the greatest concern when offering a British venue lie with the vagaries of our weather. Astonishingly, at Long Marston all aircraft flew every day, even on Thursday 28th, when two fronts lying east-west across the country caused continuous rain over Birmingham and Southampton. This is all the more remarkable when you learn that amongst the aircraft competing were powered paragliders (PPGs) which suffer from a fairly narrow flying window and are grounded by winds that prevent a pilot landing on his feet.

The Competitions
There were 75 powered paragliders and powered paratrikes flying at Long Marston and, for the first time, they outnumbered the classic microlights, 68 of which started the competition.

PPG tasks normally take place early in the morning or late in the evening, to take advantage of the calmer skies, but in this competition they were able to fly throughout the day on many days, completing a record 11 tasks in the week.
While PPG tasks include navigation tasks, of the sort all aircraft fly in competitions, they also have one or two tasks unique to them that are among the most entertaining spectator events in air sports. One of these is the slalom, where sprung ski slalom poles are set out in a 100m square and the competitors fly a complex task around them, scoring points for speed and the number of sticks kicked in the correct sequence. It is rather like aerial show jumping and well worth watching.

The classic microlight Competition Director, Rob Keene, won his gold medal at the European Championships in France in 1998. Rob set a gruelling work rate for the competitors (and, of course, the marshals) and lived up to his reputation as an innovative task designer.

One recent classic task which is set to become a standard is the short-fast-short in which aircraft must take off and clear a simulated hedge (made of marker tape) from as close as possible, race to another strip and land over another simulated hedge, stopping as short as possible. Points are awarded for short distance and speed. This task demonstrates and tests the short takeoff and landing characteristics fundamental to a microlight.

All those in the competition fly soaring tasks, where competitors are given a small amount of fuel, usually 5 litres for a single seat microlight, for example, and must then stay airborne for as long as possible. This is a natural task for PPGs and with conditions right on the day it was flown, they all headed to cloudbase over the airfield with their engines off. It's not just the PPGs that soar well, however. Many of the modern composite fixed wing microlights can put in a performance similar to that of a good motorglider, while even the weightshifts, with their high sink rates, will fly engine off for long periods in the right conditions. Historically it is the central Europeans, from countries, maybe where summer high pressure gives more opportunity to practice, that have generally done better in soaring tasks. The Brits, on the other hand, tend to fly better in rain for some reason!

All microlights fly spot landings. PPGs must land on a archery-style target, with the centre scoring more than the outer rings. Classic microlights must land in a 100 metre deck, the first 25 metres of which are divided into 5 metre long strips, the first scoring more than those that follow. In fact, all classic microlights are required to take off and land in the 100 metre box at the start and end of each task with a 20% task penalty for failure. This demonstrates the low stall speed (64 km per hour) required by the definition of a microlight. The other aspect of the definition, a maximum takeoff weight of 450 kgs, is proved by weighing the aircraft and crew before the competition and at any time throughout.

The Results
Seven classes of microlight flew in the competition. No one was surprised when Ramon Morillas and Dani Martinez of Spain took the gold and silver medals in the PPG class. These airmen make a living out of their sport, flying at events like supermarket openings and they are well-used to flying in difficult conditions. Their skill levels and consistency must be seen to be believed. However, the French fielded a strong team and took the PPG team gold, with their best performance coming from bronze medallist Sylvain Moisseron.

In the paratrike class the Russians swept the board, with Igor Potapkin, Vassily Diatchenko and Vadim Bukhtyarov taking gold, silver and bronze in the solo class and Mikhail Kozmin and Dmitry Kryuchkov the gold in the powered parachutes. Silver and bronze in the powered parachutes were won by Helmut Stern & Olivia Zechner of Austria and Ruslan Grytsalo & Oleksandr Khlyebnikov of the Ukraine. The combined paratrike class was, of course, won by the Russians.

In the classic classes, the gold in a fiercely fought dual weightshift class was won by Simon Baker & Anita Holmes of the UK in the Quik, the first 100 mph flexwing microlight. Silver medal winners, Rob Grimwood & Chris Saysell of the UK were a mere 148 points out of 10,000 behind them and following by 181 points were defending world champions Samir Elari and Cathy Almaric of France. Silver and Bronze medallists flew the new Air Creation Ixess.

In the solo flexwing class Squadron Leader Richard Rawes won the gold medal that has eluded him for so long, beating his old sparring partner Gabor Rabnecz of Hungary into the silver medal slot with Pat Nichols of the UK taking the bronze.

The dual fixed wing class was won by Paul Dewhurst & Oliver Neece of the UK in a tube and fabric SkyRanger. Not only did Paul beat the composites but this is his fifth gold medal and he now has a gold in each of the four classic microlight classes, a feat unlikely to be repeated. Pedro Nogueroles & Manuel Perez of Spain took the silver and Roland Fesenmayr & Jan Altenkirch of Germany the bronze.

In the solo fixed wing class, Denis Chevillet of France won the gold in his lovely little (and I mean little) Micro B, powered by a 377 Rotax two-stroke. His achievement after many years of trying is all the more notable because Denis was one of two disabled pilots who flew in the competition. Jan Lukes of the Czech Republic and defending world champion Antonio Marchesi of Spain took the bronze and silver. David Broom of the UK deserves a special mention for 4th place in his vintage Lazair, uncompetitive but a joy to watch and the only twin-engined microlight in the competition.

Use of New Technology
One final feature of this competition that deserves a mention was Richard Meredith-Hardy's use of technology in running the PPG competition. Unlike the classic side, where photographs and large numbers of marshals were used to prove that pilots had flown the right track and reached the right turnpoints, the PPGs were monitored throughout by GPS loggers. For microlights this is a big step forward and will make future competitions, like the European Championships next year in Portugal, much easier to manage.

A last footnote comes from the Japanese PPG team, who used the opportunity of fine weather and a brisk breeze to break the Japanese PPG distance record, flying from Long Marston to Crediton, a distance of 196.8 km.

For further information :

By Keith Negal

FAI Weekly Update
15/08/2003 | Posted by JeanMarc at 09:59 AM

28th World Gliding Championships 2003
19.07 - 10.08, Leszno (POL)

LESZNO, 10 August - After 12 successful competition days, the 28th World Gliding Championships Closing Ceremony was a moment of triumph for the four World Champions, and a moment of relief for all those who organized these Championships. Results and statistics.

Open Class : Holger KAROW (GER)
Standard Class : Andrew DAVIS (GBR)
15 m : John COUTTS (NZL)
18 m : Wolfgang JANOWITSCH (AUT)

Some statistics
- 654'000 kilometers flown,
- 9'700 hours flown,
- 2'030 glider take-offs,
- 128 competitors,
- 66 : the age of the oldest competitor, Karl STRIEDIECK (USA)
- 31 nations represented,
- 22 : the age of the youngest competitor, Johan STORMATS (SWE).

For further information
Results, News, ... and much more / FAI Gliding Commission (IGC) / IGC Pilot Ranking List


A Model Plane Crosses the Atlantic Ocean
From the report written by Jack Garland, Associated Press

LONDON, 12 August — It didn’t fly high and it didn’t fly swiftly, but The Spirit of Butts Farm made it all the way from Canada to Ireland with a few drops of fuel to spare, a group of model airplane enthusiasts say. They are hoping for a distance record for the flight of 38 hours, 23 minutes over 1,888.3 miles by a model plane that weighed just 11 pounds when it took off from Newfoundland.

For Dave Brown, who was at the controls for Monday’s landing at Marrin Beach in County Galway, it was a great moment. “A great cheer went up when we saw it, and four minutes later I landed it in the field. It was so thrilling,” Brown said in a telephone interview. The balsa wood-and-mylar plane was designed by retired engineer Maynard Hill, 77, of Silver Spring, Md. He launched it from Cape Spear, Newfoundland, on Saturday night.

The nearly 6-foot-long craft was packed with instruments that sent telemetry back to mission control and helped guide the plane. Once in sight of the Irish coast, the plane came back under human control for landing. Brown, president of American Academy of Model Aeronautics, said he flew to Ireland to handle the landing. Hill kept in touch by telephone from Newfoundland. “At one point our instruments began telling us the aircraft was inexplicably dipping up and down 100 feet at a time, and then we lost contact with it,” he said.

(…) If the flight is certified by the FAI, it could set world records for distance traveled by a model airplane and duration of flight. The federation’s assistant secretary-general, Thierry Montigneaux, said from Lausanne, Switzerland, that the modelers had seven days to give notice of their record claims and 120 days to submit a dossier of evidence. (…) Brown said when Maynard first mentioned 10 years ago his plan to fly a model plane across the Atlantic, “I have to admit that at first I thought he was daffy. “But I’ve since learnt that he is not the kind of guy you tell he can’t do something to,” Brown said.

LAUSANNE, 13 August - The FAI has received from the President of the Model Aeronautics Council of Ireland, Joe Dible, the following Class F (Model Aircraft) record claims :

Claim number : 7882
Category : F3 : Radio controlled flight
Sub-class : F3A (Aeroplane, piston motor)
Type of record : N°142 - Distance in a straight line
Course/location : Cape Spear, NF (Canada) - Mannin Beach (Ireland)
Performance : 3039 km
Pilot : Maynard L. HILL (USA) & Team
Date : 11.08.2003
Current record : 832.43 km (14.06.1998 - Ronald C. CLEM, USA)

Claim number : 7883
Category & Sub-class : do.
Type of record : N°141- Duration
Course/location : Cape Spear, NF (Canada) - Mannin Beach (Ireland)
Performance : 38h 23min
Pilot : Maynard L. HILL (USA)
Date : 11.08.2003
Current record : 33h 39mn 15s (01.10.1992 - Maynard L. HILL, USA)

The details shown above are provisional. When all the evidence required has been received and checked, the exact figures will be established and the records ratified (if appropriate).

Lausanne, 15 August 2003

The 2003 FAI Championships season is at its height : results
07/08/2003 | Posted by JeanMarc at 11:16 AM

Summer holidays (Northern Hemisphere) mean not only "sea, sand and sun", but also the high season for all air sports championships. In the last few weeks, several FAI World and Continental Championships were held in the sports of Aeromodelling, Gliding, Paragliding and General Aviation. The FAI now publishes the first results.

2003 FAI World Aeromodelling Championship F1
12. - 18.07, Kunszentmiklos (HUN)

F1A - Individual : Robert HELLGREN (SWE)
F1A - Team : Ukraine
F1B - Individual : Stepan STEFANCHUK (UKR)
F1B - Team : Ukraine
F1C - Individual : Leonid FUZEYEV (RUS)
F1C - Team : USA

Full results / FAI – Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM).

2003 FAI European Aeromodelling Championship for Control Line Circular Flight
12. - 18.07, Rouille (FRA)

F2A (Speed Model Aircraft) : Luis PARAMON (ESP)
F2A - Junior : Matthew HART (GBR)
F2B (Aerobatic Model Aircraft) : Serge DELABARDE (FRA)
F2B - Junior : Richard KORNMEIER (GER)
F2C (Team Racing Model Aircraft) : Y. BONDARENKO & S. LERNER (UKR)
F2D (Combat Model Aircraft) : Andrius RASTENIS (LTU)
F2D - Junior : Cesar PICADO (nation to be confirmed)

FAI – Aeromodelling Commission (CIAM).

3rd FAI World Junior Gliding Championship
5. - 19.07, Nitra (SVK)

Club Class : Michael STREIT (GER)
Standard Class : Jez HOOD (GBR)

Results / FAI – Gliding Commission (IGC).

4th FAI World World Class Gliding Championship
5. - 19.07, Nitra (SVK)

Sebastian KAWA (POL)

Results / FAI – Gliding Commission (IGC).

8th World Paragliding Championship
11. - 27.07, Larouco, Montalegre (POR)

Overall : Alex HOFER (SUI)
Women : Petra KRAUSOVA (CZE)
Team : Switzerland

Results / World Ranking List / FAI – Hang Gliding Commission (CIVL).

13th World Rally Flying Championship
26.07 - 03.08, Rustenburg (RSA)

Individual : HOPKINS / DE KLERK (RSA)
Team : South Africa

Results / FAI – General Aviation Commission (IGC).

FAI congratulates the Winners and thanks the Organizers of the Championships.

Lausanne, 7 August 2003

Coming soon : World Microlight Championships 2003
06/08/2003 | Posted by JeanMarc at 03:33 PM

Every two years microlight pilots from around the world come together to compete in the FAI World Microlight Championships. In recent years these competitions have been held in France, Spain, Hungary, Turkey and South Africa. This year, between 23rd and 30th August, the United Kingdom is hosting the 9th FAI World Microlight Championship and the 3rd FAI World Powered Paragliders Championship at Long Marston Airfield, south of Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Long Marston

Ceremonies, fly-in and trade-fair
The competition opening ceremony on Saturday 23rd August will start with a fly-in, trade-fair and static display of microlights from around the world, culminating in a full display by the RAF Red Arrows) display team at 4:00 pm. In the evening there will be a party with a pig-roast and barn-dance. After the competition week, the closing ceremony on the afternoon of Saturday 30th August will follow the final precision flying tasks and will end with another party and disco culminating with a Grand Firework display. Throughout the week tasks will be flown every day followed by entertainment for the 500 or so competitors, marshals and families who will be living on site, together with visitors who fly or drive in.

Well-known Champions at the head of the Competition
The two Competition Directors of the Long Marston Competition are Richard Meredith-Hardy, who won the individual Gold Medal in 1990, and Rob Keene who won the European Gold Medal in 2000. Chief Executive is Keith Negal who was Team Leader of the British Team when they took the Gold in the last World Championships held in Beas de Segura in Spain in 2001.

Classic Classes on Precision task

Competition Classes
The competition will be divided into two main classes. The 'Classic' classes are the typical flexwing and fixed wing microlights while the 'New' classes are the powered parachutes and powered paragliders which are growing in popularity.

Precision Tasks
Competition tasks are divided into precision, planning, navigation, fuel economy and combinations of these. The navigation, planning and fuel economy tasks are largely self-explanatory, but the precision tasks, which are the most entertaining for spectators, need a little explanation.
The main Classic classes' precision tasks are the spot landing and the 'short-short'. In the spot landing the aircraft must cut its engine at 1,000 feet over the runway and then land in a 'deck' 25 metres wide and 100 metres long in which certain 5 metre strips have high scores. In the short-short, which simulates a short-field takeoff followed by a short-field landing, the aircraft must start its takeoff run as close to a 1 metre 'hedge' (a tape across the runway) which it must clear before completing a circuit and landing over the same 'hedge', stopping as close to it as possible again clearing it.

Slalom for Powered Paragliders
In addition to the spot landing, which is always exciting, the most entertaining of the precision tasks for the New classes is the slalom. In the slalom the powered parachutes fly a prescribed and complex low-level course over a deck 100 metres by 100 metres in which the pilots must score by kicking spring-loaded marker sticks.

Given the right weather, always a bit of a gamble, this international event in the heart of England promises to be a tremendous success.
By Keith Negal

For further information ...
Official Webpage :
FAI Sporting Calendar : //
TV Production : one 20-minute or two 10-minute programs are planned; for further information regarding distribution, please contact Mr. Keith Negal, Chief Executive, at

Lausanne, 7 August 2003

TV Coverage of World Parachuting Championships "Mondial 2003"
05/08/2003 | Posted by JeanMarc at 12:36 PM

Under the title of "Mondial 2003", five World Parachuting Championships will be held from 7 to 14 September 2003 at Gap-Tallard, in the French Alps. As the Organizers will provide daily TV coverage, FAI invites its Members, Media and TV Representatives to contribute to a wide distribution of these spectacular images.

What is the "Mondial 2003" ?
On the same airfield, the best parachutists from 40 nations worldwide will compete in the following five different FAI-sanctioned competitions (see FAI Sporting Calendar) :

Canopy Formation
10th World Parachuting Championship in Canopy Formation
Team members compete under open parachutes (canopies). Once out of the aircraft, they deploy their parachutes immediately and proceed to build different formations by linking together. They connect by putting their feet on another parachute, in the parachute lines or on another jumper's body.

2nd World Parachuting Championship in Freeflying : Freeflying, the ultimate in creative freefall, is one of the latest events in sport parachuting and the only one to incorporate all dimensional axes during the freefall part of a parachute jump. The teams consist of three athletes, two freeflyers and a camera-flyer, who also contributes to the team's sporting performance. Judges score the team for both technical skill and artistic merit.

Accuracy Landing
27th World Parachuting Championship in Freefall Style and Accuracy Landing : Freefall Style is an individual discipline where the athlete performs a prescribed sequence of maneuvers in freefall as precisely as possible against the clock, rotating around different body axes, performing turns and loops and using both physical strength and aerodynamic forces. Accuracy Landing is also an individual discipline where the athlete has to steer his parachute to a precision landing on the 3 cm target in the center of an electronic measuring device.

Freestyle Skydiving
4th World Parachuting Championship in Freestyle Skydiving and Skysurfing : The objective of Freestyle Skydiving is to record a sequence of free or compulsory moves and poses in freefall during a limited working time; the teams consist of a performer and a freefall camera-flyer. Skysurfing is virtually identical to Freestyle Skydiving, except that a board is attached to the athletes' feet.

Formation Skydiving
15th World Parachuting Championship in Formation Skydiving : The teams consisting of 4, 8 or 16 members and a freefall camera-flyer have to perform, during a limited working time, a sequence of formations and transition maneuvers, and repeat this sequence as many times as possible during the working time.

What will you get ?
The competition Organizers will deliver daily 2-minute footage with the most spectacular images and interviews. The production team (Mosaďc Productions) will use 7 airborne and 3 ground cameras. A 26-minute film of the competitions' highlights will also be available one week after the end of the event.

Further information / Contact address
Official Website :

Worldwide distribution : by Upside Television, Pierre Betsch
Tel +33 1 46 38 94 55 / Fax +33 1 46 38 83 16

Lausanne, 5 August 2003

Media Coverage of the 8th FAI World Paragliding Championship
22/05/2003 | Posted by JeanMarc at 11:59 AM

The 8th FAI World Paragliding Championship will be held from 11 to 27 July 2003 in Montalegre, Portugal. As the Organizers will provide unique press services, FAI invites its Members and Media Representatives to register with the Competition Media Director.

The following services will be provided free-of-charge :

Press Center
Computers, Internet connections, phones and telecopiers will be available at the competition venue.

Daily Press Releases
Press Releases about the competition will be available in English and Portuguese on the official Website, or will be sent to the registered media.

New Photos will be available daily on the official Website for the use of all Media Representatives.

Professional 10-minute Video
A professional 10-minute video (Betacam) will be offered daily to TV Stations in Portugal and abroad.

Final Professional Video-Tape
On the last day of the Competition, a final Professional Video Tape will be provided to each participating country.

Final VHS Video-Tape
Two weeks after the end of the Competition, each participating Federation will receive a final VHS video-tape (shipping costs : € 10.-).

In order to benefit from these press services, FAI Members and Media Representatives (Journalists, Newspapers, Magazines, Radio and TV Stations) are invited to register with the Competition Media Director at :

Media Director of the 8th FAI Paragliding World Championship

e-mail :
Mobile : 0 351 91 777 60 18/19
Fax : 0 351 21 396 46 93

Lausanne, 22 May 2003

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