FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission (CIVL)

CIVL Handbook

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.


FAI is a non-governmental and non-profit making international organisation organised according to Statutes and By-Laws established by its General Conference. The latest versions of the FAI documents can be found by this link.

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 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 its Internal Regulations and Terms of Reference 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. The 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. 

Current Committees are:  Hang Gliding Cross Country - Paragliding Aerobatics - Paragliding Accuracy - Paragliding Cross Country.

Current Working Groups are: Software, CIVL Instruments, CCC, Hike&Fly and some temporary working groups.

Current Technical Officers are: Communication - Competition - Jury and Steward - Records and Badges - World XC Online contest - Safety - Software - Environment - NAC Liaison Officer -
Training (to be appointed) -  Asian Liaison Officer (to be appointed).

An appointment is created for each Category 1 competition: Pilot Entry Screening Committees.

Committees and Working Group members and Chairs, Technical Officers are listed by the respective links. As per CIVL Internal regulations mentioned above, Committees and Working Group Members (volunteers or invited experts) are appointed by the Committee Chairs. Technical Officers are appointed by the Bureau. 

The Plenary

CIVL Plenary traditionally meets every beginning of the year (usually in 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. The President and financial reports cannot be ready within this deadline and are 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 agree.

Meeting timetable

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).

Meeting procedures

  • 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.

Deadlines sum-up:

  • 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 announcements in general are published here.

The Bureau 

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, duties, and powers are described in CIVL Internal Regulations Internal Regulations.  Current Bureau members are listed on the website.

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 are done through Basecamp software, 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 with the rest of the world. We encourage you to explore its many sections and pages. The CIVL News page is here. If you have questions or found an error please contact CIVL Administrator 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.

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; 
  • records;
  • validation of specified performances for certificates of proficiency or badges.

The General Section chapters:

  1. FAI authority – responsibilities. 
  2. Definitions.
  3. Sporting Events.
  4. Observers and Officials.
  5. Penalties - protests. 
  6. World Records. 
  7. Flight Measurement and Control.
  8. Sporting Licences. 
  9. Appeals before FAI.

The General Section is the responsibility of the Air Sport General Commission (CASI).

CIVL, like other Air Sport Commissions is responsible for the specific rules and procedures that apply to its disciplines. These are defined in the different Section 7 of the FAI Sporting Code:

  • Common Section 7 for all disciplines.
  • Section 7A Cross Country Hang gliding and Paragliding (classes 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5).
  • Section 7B Paragliding Aerobatic
  • Section 7C Paragliding Accuracy and Accuracy Judging Code
  • Section 7D Records and Badges (hang gliders and paragliders).
  • Section 7E WPRS
  • Section 7F XC Scoring
  • Section 7G CCC Paragliders Requirements
  • Section 7H CIVL Flight Recorder Specification
  • Section 7I Guidelines and Templates
  • Section 7J Jury Guidelines

When needed (in fact every year), the CIVL Plenary adjusts its Section 7 rules. Unless specified otherwise, all new rules are implemented on the 1st of May following the Plenary.

FAI Events

In its General Section, FAI has classified “Events” into 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 championship 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 Organiser 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.

Guidelines for the presentation of bids, Practical guidelines for organisers of competitions, and other documents are available on the Documents page of the CIVL website under "Event Organising Helpful information for competition organisers and pilots". It consists of 2 document groups dedicated to Category 1 and 2 events. A summary of activity for each event category can be found here.

Deadlines sum-up:

  • Championship minus 3 years: letter of intent 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 category 2 events are managed according to Chapter 12 of Section 7 Common, 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 for organisers to adjust to their specific needs.

Most documents available to help organisers of Category 1 Events can be used by organisers 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.

Don’t forget!

The organiser's NAC must approve the event.

  • Application and payment must be done via https://ams.fai.org/ 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.

Pay the sanction fees for FAI/CIVL Category 2 competitions online with Paypal.

Rules for Category 2 events application can be found here.

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, especially regarding 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 FAI International jury members handbook FAI International jury members handbook and CIVL Jury Guidelines.

Training is provided for Juries and Stewards 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 upcoming 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 7C  describe the specific duties and roles of these judging teams - Accuracy Judging Code. 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 the 4 best competitions in the last 3 years with time devaluation. WPRS is hosted in the CIVL Event management system https://civlcomps.org/.

The original formula for scoring points has evolved throughout the years and is described in Section 7E WPRS. Go to CIVL Documents page to find it under Sporting code document group. 

Today, more than 8 000 pilots from 55 nations were ranked in 8 categories.

Pilots should check that their personal record shows the correct nation corresponding to their FAI Sporting license (i.e. the nation they compete for), particularly as there are a few pilots from an unknown nation. If you take part in any FAI event first time you need to register in the CIVL rankingContact CIVL's Competitions Coordinator, if your nation 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) was launched 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 contests 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 participated in a Category 1 or 2 event since 2001 are in the FAI/CIVL ID base. Search your CIVL ID via the search field at the bottom of the WPRS ranking page.  New pilots should register through the CIVL website ranking pages. Once getting CIVL ID, each pilot then registers in his national online contest server. 

The season runs from October 1st to September 30th. Rules of the WXC evolve based on changes in technology and flying practices. All this 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 Cross country have records for the following flights:

  • Free distance 
  • Straight distance to a declared goal 
  • Declared distance around a triangular course
  • Declared distance using up to 3 turn points
  • Declared out-and-return distance
  • Free distance around a triangular course
  • Free distance using up to 3 position checkpoints
  • Free out-and-return distance
  • 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

XC Records may be claimed in the following categories:

  • General (solo pilot).
  • Multiplace (tandem flight).
  • Feminine.

Types of Record for PGA

  • Accuracy landing (PG only): Number of consecutive valid rounds in FAI-sanctioned competitions with a score of 0
  • Accuracy landing (PG only): Number of consecutive valid rounds in FAI-sanctioned competitions with a score of =<5cm together with the sum of those scores measured in cm.

Types of Record for PG Aerobatics

  • Number of Infinity tumbling rotations,
  • Number of Esfera rotations,
  • Number of Misty flip rotations,
  • Number of Twister rotations,
  • Number of Heli to SAT rotations.


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 CIVL Section 7D . 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 Section 7D.


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's skills. It gives flying site managers, instructors, and others responsible for hang gliding and/or paragliding flight operations a starting point for verifying a pilot’s experience level prior to the 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 on 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 on the Awards page 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 of the sport of hang gliding.