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Slalom Worlds 2013



A very strong Polish team took the French –creators of the competition format, winners of the ‘classic’ Worlds 2012, and favorites– by surprise with their small Dudek Snakes gliders (16 to 22 m2) combined with powerful engines, mainly Polini Thor 200 and Thor 250. Despite of the altitude of the airfield at 840m asl, they had no problem to launch and fly at amazing speeds around the pylons, specially Grzegorz who took first place in nearly all tasks.

The weather did not cooperate much, and after a first round of 2 tasks held during the morning of the first competition day (Tuesday 10th), the strong northerly wind ‘Mistral’ forced to stop all flying activity until Friday, when 2 more rounds for PF1 and three for PL1 were flown. Following the tasks held on Saturday morning in perfect conditions, only the top eight pilots of each class passed the cut to quarters of final, with a task of 5 pylons that Alex Mateos (FR, Ozone Speedster 19 / Macfly Thor 200) won by half a second ahead of Grzegorz (Dudek Snake 16 / Nirvana Thor 250).


Podium footlaunch (PF1): Alex Mateos (FR) 2nd, Grzegorz Krzyzanowski (POL) world champion, and Marek Furtak (POL) 3rd.

Then there was a second cut and semi-finals with the best 4 pilots, where the Polish pilot went back to top, over a second faster than Alex.
The top 2 places were resolved in a last, exciting task of 3 pylons nearly at dusk. First Grzegorz entered the circuit taking the first turn at high speeds but then his glider collapsed on one side to the astonishment of the rest of the pilots watching. He went on like that until the glider reopened without losing direction or time: he completed the task in just 39.74 seconds. Alex did his best but could not take any advantage of that little incident, finishing in 40.89 secs. Marek Furtak was third, and the rest of the top 10 places were taken evenly by Polish and French pilots only, with Nico Aubert -the youngest pilot, aged 16- in a remarkable 9th place. Poland was the winning nation, with France 2nd and Spain 3rd.





In paratrike there were only 13 pilots competing and it was amazing to see them flying the circuits just a few seconds slower than the footlaunched pilots. Here the top places moved a bit more due to mistakes made by the two top pilots. Finally, Marcin Krakowiak was the clear winner of the 3 final rounds and took the gold, ahead of Frederic Mallard (FR, 2nd) and Michael Nadazy (CZE, 3rd).

Although the championship could not have many tasks, it showed that the Slalom discipline has a true future, with pilots enjoying the races and having a good time in a sportive ambiance (with no protests), and many new faces joining in: there were teams from China, Qatar, Switzerland or USA. Gliders are going smaller, engines are going bigger, and high hangpoints are well in the precision game, as the Polish showed. Special attention was given to security, with flying windows opening only in smooth conditions of low wind and thermal activity –there was just one incident of a collapse with crash-landing, which resulted in a broken prop.
During the prize giving the Polish team announced their intention to host the Slalom Worlds in 2015, and there is also interest from the Chinese to have them in the Asian country.




Dudek, big winner after doing a big bet for the Slalom competition with a paraglider specially designed for it, and also giving strong support to the very motivated Polish team.

Slalom Tasks & Team comp
The slalom tasks take place in a “stadium” formed by 5 pylons of 12m of height; 4 of them make a square of 80x80m and one is in the center. According to the task, there might be 2 to 5 of them inflated. There were entry and exit gates at a height of between 1.35 and 1.85m with a photo-electric sensor that activated the chrono when the pilot crossed them. The scoring system invented by the French is very simple and grants 1 point to the task winner, 2 to the second, 3 to the third and so on –no matter if one is 2 seconds or 2 milliseconds faster-, with added penalty points for some cases, so the overall winner is the one with fewer points at the end of the competition. Usually, two tasks are flown in the same round so each pilot has to go in one stadium and then in the next during his/her run. If you make the wrong turn or go to the wrong pylon, you get a red flag, the last position, and as many points as the number of competitors (i.e., 66 in footlaunch class in this Worlds) plus 5 penalty points.
There was an individual score, and a Nations ranking made with the 3 best results in PF1 and the best PL1 of each nation. The organizers also added a Teams competition that had separate scoring and tasks: Each team was formed by 3 pilots (and a reserve), and the tasks had to be flown consecutively by them, with the second pilot crossing the entry gate as closely as possible to the moment of exit of the first pilot, and the third one entering also at the time of exit of the second. If one pilot entered one second before a partner exited, they had 3 seconds added to their time, while if one was 1 second late the team had that second added to the total time. This new contest was interesting to watch, and the pilots seemed to enjoy it a lot.
The aspect that was not liked so much was the ‘cut’ to only the first 8 pilots of each class for the quarters, semi and finals. That meant that about 62% of the PL1 competitors passed to quarters, while in PF1 only 12% of them went on to the final tasks, which was not proportional. Of course, this is the first World Championship of Slalom so there are still many things that can be reviewed for future FAI competitions of this modality.



Italians and Qataries, with USA's Ryan Shaw, all took place for the first time in a paramotor world championship.

Top 10 PF1:
1 Grzegorz KRZYZANOWSKI - POL
2 Alexandre MATEOS - FRA
3 Marek FURTAK - POL
4 Piotr FICEK - POL
5 Kamil MANKOWSKI - POL
6 Jeremy PENONE - FRA
7 Aurelien GANAYE - FRA
8 Guillaume VALLANCE - FRA
9 Nicolas AUBERT - FRA
10 Andrzej BURY - POL

Top 10 PL1:
1 Marcin KRAKOWIAK - POL
2 Frederic MALLARD - FRA
3 Michael NADAZY - CZE
4 Petr MATOUSEK - CZE
5 Gabriel TOMAN - CZE
6 Wojciech BOGDAL - POL
7 Krzysztof ROMICKI - POL
8 Julian GANAYE - FRA
9 Paco DIAZ SALTO - SPA
10 Sandrine MUZELLEC - FRA

+Info & results: http://ffplum.blogspot.fr/p/blog-page_1969.html

*Report by © Ojovolador.com

The first FAI World Championship of this new precision discipline ended on Sunday 15 of September, after 9 tasks flown by 79 pilots from 18 countries at the aerodrome of Chevalet, in Aspres-sur-Buech (French Alps). The Polish swept off the podium taking gold by Nations and individuals both in footlaunch and paratrike classes, and also the PF1 Teams competition. Grzegorz Krzyzanowski (PF1) and Marcin Krakowiak (PL1) are the first Slalom World Champions.

Slalom World Champion
The first World Champion of Slalom paramotor put family and work on a second place to focus on intense training for these championships. Grzegorz flew a small Snake wing of 16m2 with a Nirvana paramotor with high hang point, powered by Polini Thor 250 engine that offered nearly 100Kg of thrust.


Alex Mateos was also strong and well trained for these Worlds, with an Ozone Slalom 19 glider and a MacFly Polini Thor 200 paramotor with which he carved fast turns, but was not as fast on the straight courses to beat the Polish.


The paratrike (PL1) podium: Frederic Mallard (FR) 2nd, Marcin Krakowiak (POL) world champion, and Michael Nadazy (CZE) 3rd.


The only public watching the semi-finals and finals: the rest of the pilots, as the championship was almost "clandestine"


The youngster Nico Aubert (FR, 16) -son of PAP boss Pierre Aubert- managed a remarkable 9th place in his first world championship against other very experienced pilots. He used a paramotor PAP Thor 200 and a "big" Dudek Snake wing of 18m2.


The entry and exit gates of the stadium, 6 to 12m wide, worked with photo-electric sensors placed at at a height of between 135 and 185cm, and you better not miss them or you got the worst score of the task!


Meet director Jose Ortega displayed his great experience in competition, and with a well organized team could take advantage of all the small flyable windows to push this first Slalom Worlds forward.


The current 'classic' Paramotor World Champion, Pascal Vallée, worked as team leader and took the French to a notable 2nd place.


Marcin Krakowiak, the new paratrike slalom world champion, made times comparable to the 8th footlaunched pilot! He was flying a Dudek Snake 22 with a paratrike Paraelement Spider 250.


Doubtlessly, the small Dudek Snake gliders were unbeatable. The Ozone Slalom could carve the pylons better but lost time on the straight lines.


The world multi-champion Ramon Morillas (ES) was flying a PAP Vittorazi Moster 185 paramotor, and a Niviuk Doberman glider for the first time in these Worlds. He managed the 17th position after making a mistake in one of the circuits.


Mike Campbell-Jones, the Paramania boss, told us that they plan to develop a specific wing for slalom competition, always keeping an eye on the safety. In this type of tasks and conditions the GTRs could not follow the pace of the fastest pilots.


A “secret” World Championship
Paramotoring is quite regulated and restricted in France –and the rest of Europe- so this competition was, in a way, even illegal. That is what some French pilots told us when we asked why there were no welcoming signs or posters in the village, no public enjoying the amazing show put up by the world’s best pilots, or no media covering the event. It was like a “secret” championship where 80 pilots were flying under 150 meters – the minimum altitude for PPG in France. There, paramotors are considered ultralight aircrafts so each gear and pilot must be registered with the local authorities, and they can only fly in regulated aerodromes. According to the rules, if you are a visitor you need a special temporary registration to fly there, and can do it only in authorized areas. Any public display involving ULM need special insurance and authorization, which means an important extra cost for the organization of such event.

Published: September 18, 2013

*Test & article by Ojovolador.com

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