27 Oct 2018

New FAI Manifesto: Preserving Airspace Access for Air Sports

A new FAI Manifesto calling on the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to ensure continued airspace access for air sports was approved by the FAI General Conference in Luxor, Egypt this week.

Conceived by Ronald Schnitker, President of the Royal Dutch Aviation Association (KNVVL), the Manifesto aims to protect the rights of all air sports enthusiasts to continue practising their sports – something that is becoming more and more difficult as our skies become increasingly crowded.

Signed FAI President Frits Brink on behalf of the Conference, it urges all FAI Members to take steps to preserve airspace access for air sports at both national and international levels.

The objective of this approach is “to secure effective recognition and observance of their rights to access airspace in the practice of their sports”, while engaging with policy makers and regulators “in a permanent and constructive dialogue”.

The document points out that UNESCO, in its International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, proclaimed that the practice of physical education, physical activity and sport is a fundamental right for all.

And ends by urging the ICAO and Member States “to accommodate air sports in their regulations in accordance with the intentions of this Manifesto and the UNESCO Charter”.

New FAI Manifesto: full text

FAI Manifesto: Preserving Airspace Access for Air Sports

THE FEDERATION AERONAUTIQUE INTERNATIONALE (FAI)

The World Air Sports Federation

Having regard to the FAI Constitution and in particular Article 1.2 and 1.3 thereof,

Having regard to the decision of the 112th General Conference Luxor, Egypt, 2018

Preamble

Whereas

  • it is essential to promote the development and practice of air sports in the World and FAI members have pledged themselves to achieve, in co-operation with ICAO, the promotion of universal respect for and observance of air sport rights and the fundamental freedom to use airspace, and
  • under the terms of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein without discrimination to develop and preserve their physical, psychological and social well-being and capabilities, and
  • that airspace is essential to enable the practice of air sports but that it is becoming increasingly difficult for the various air sport disciplines to access suitable airspace;

Recalling that

  • the General Conference of UNESCO, in their International Charter of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport, proclaimed that the practice of physical education, physical activity and sport is a fundamental right for all1 and that physical education, physical activity and sport can yield a wide range of benefits to individuals, communities and society at large.

Noting that

  • it is essential to promote and facilitate recreational aviation and air sports, including flying club operations which provide the major training of professional skills for the entire aviation sector including commercial and military aviation;
  • air sports deliver educational and social opportunities for young persons through access to disciplined activities that create team-building and social responsibility as advocated in the UNESCO Charter.

Considering that

  • when designing aviation regulations, authorities must be mindful that rules that affect air sports are proportionate, logical and well executable,
  • aviation policy makers should facilitate the differentiation of regulations based on adequate and competent data and statistical information relating to different categories of airspace users, in so far as this does not compromise safety, to provide air sport pilots with easy-to-use and cost-effective access to appropriate airspace;
  • a degree of flexibility in the development of new regulations for aviation and the design and application of airspace structures, as appropriate, should be applied to accommodate and facilitate air sport activities in the implementation phase of the regulations;
  • restrictions on the use of airspace for air sports must be justified objectively and requirements to facilitate access to airspace must not create disproportionate and excessively costly technological requirements for recreational aircraft that fly under visual flight rules; and,
  • air sport and flying club activities have a substantially smaller environmental footprint compared to commercial air transport and the protection of grassed areas for aerodromes dedicated to recreational aviation may enhance the environmental protection for many species threatened by urban development.

Now therefore,

the FAI GENERAL CONFERENCE proclaims this FAI MANIFESTO: PRESERVING AIRSPACE ACCESS FOR AIR SPORTS to be the common standard of enactment which all FAI Members shall invoke at national and international levels, through teaching and education and by progressive measures, to secure effective recognition and observance of their rights to access airspace in the practice of their sports and requests national and international policy makers and regulators

  • to engage with the representatives of interest groups for air sports in a permanent and constructive dialogue;
  • to develop regulations for access to airspace for air sport that avoid unnecessary administrative and financial burdens;
  • to accommodate the specific characteristics of each recreational and sport aviation discipline in the design and amendment of airspace structures, as far as this does not compromise safety, to accommodate the specific needs of each discipline;
  • to ensure that the implementing rules governing the safety of air sports are proportionate and fit for purpose acknowledging the minimal risk profile and that many categories of sport and recreational aircraft and activities pose to the general public;

and urges ICAO and Member States

  • to accommodate air sports in their regulations in accordance with the intentions of this Manifesto and the UNESCO Charter.

 

Photo credit: FAI