Andy Phillips, GBR
Task Cancellation System
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.
There are always a few pilots desperate for points who would be prepared to fly in dangerous conditions.
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.
In the UK, we have successfully used an SMS-based task cancellation system for the last three years in addition to the use of visual signals on the deck.