GBR (Andy Phillips)
After take-offs have started the organisers may suspend flying if to continue is dangerous. If the period of suspension is sufficiently long to give an unfair chance to any competitor the director shall cancel the task. Once all competitors in a class have taken off, or had the opportunity to take off, the task may not be cancelled other than for reasons of force majeure.
In Paramotors, if less than 50% of pilots in class start a task then after all penalties have been applied each pilot score for the task will be reduced on a pro-rata basis according to the following formula:
Pilot final task score = Ps*(MIN(1,(Ts/Tc)*2))
Ps = Pilot task score after all penalties Etc. are applied.
Ts = Total started; total number of pilots in class who started the task (ie properly, beyond 5 minute rule).
Tc = Total class; total number of pilots in class.
The rule 4.34.17 is a legacy from paragliding competitions in which free launch is standard. In the current most commonly used Paramotor system of ordered launch there is undue pressure on pilots to make a fast decision whether to fly or not, or risk losing 20% of their points from missing their position in the launch order.
The existing rules allow Competition Directors to launch a task in potentially unsafe conditions, falling back onto the arguments that it is up to the pilots to fly if they wish, and let a formula devalue the points.
The UK Squad prefer the idea of a Competition Director who has to make a judgement on the suitability of a task in the prevailing and forecast weather conditions, and cancel the task, whether some pilots have launched or not, in the interest of safety.
There are always some pilots willing to risk their lives in dangerous conditions for the sake of a few points. Even if the points for a task in which not many pilots choose to fly are hugely devalued, it could still mean the difference of two or three hundred points relative to someone who chooses not fly, which could very easily be the difference between medal positions. It is unfair to put pilots in the position of having to evaluate their own safety against championship places. The Competition Director should still be able to cancel a task if pilots have taken off already.