Jun 26 2011
Last update:

Event Planning

Note: This webpage gives ideas of what and how to run Speed-Flying events.

The following are basic guidelines and only to be used as a starting point to help plan an event. It is for the Event Organizers and Race Director to produce an Official set of Rules and Regulations for their event.



The following is required for ALL events (*) indicates for snow events only

Safety helmets must be worn.
Back protection is obligatory (airback or Dainese system).
Weight ballast is forbidden for speed riding.
Close fitting ski suits (KL or descent type) are prohibited.
Competitors must use skis, Snowboard, monoski are prohibited. (*)
ARVA is obligatory. (*)

The wings used by competitors should have a flat surface area of between 7 and 14 m² (75 to 150 square feet)
Larger wings/gliders may not be used.
If the flight manual for the glider used by the competitor does not say explicitly that the wing can be used for speed riding, the pilot must obtain authorization from the race director (RD) to participate at the event.

Summer Speed-Flying events competitors must Foot-Launch.


A presentation of the allowed flight areas are precisely defined at pre-race meetings and an A4 visual should be provided to competitors.

Each rider is authorized to practice individually when he doesn’t have to do a round.
This obligatory area for individual practicing is marked and should be well away from the competion zone.

Several rounds can be run every day. The organizer can also offer different types of rounds in the race (slalom, parallel slalom; Freeride).

During the selection or qualifying rounds and during the first official round, the order of takeoff is drawn lots.
During the next rounds, the departure is done in the reverse order of the previous finishing. Example: Top 16 would start in reverse order - 16th starts First.. 1st starts Last.

PENALTIES - unless indicated in the events official rules
Time’s penalty for all slalom type rounds: 5 seconds
Point’s penalty for the Freeride or judged rounds: 5 points


Winter Flying

Types of Events



The course should be made up of between 5 to 8 gates and positioned between the start and finish lines
Each gate indicates a change of direction in the course.
Each gate should be visible from the previous gate.

The gate is constructed with two posts spaced at a distance of 5 to 20 meters.

Dimensions of each post (2 x Posts = 1 Gate)

The "touch" zone is a minimum length of 10 metres, 5 m upstream and 5 m downstream of the line joining the two posts.

The “touch” areas will should be marked with 10 cm lines.

Each gate is watched by a course judge to confirm the competitors feet pass between the two posts of the gate and that their skis make contact contact with the snow within the 'touch' zone.



The Start and Finish areas should be marked by vertical banners (normally) visible from each end of the course.

Starting gate

Diagram of the finish area and line.

The thickness of the finish line should be around 50 cm.
Flags should be spaced at a distance of between 5 and 20 meters.

Finishing gate

Crossing the finish line requires contact between skis and snow in the 'touch' zone, with the stopwatch halting at the exact moment the competitor crosses the finish line in the 'touch' zone.



Before each event or change in course layout a ski recognition of the course is to made by the RD with all the competitors.

Each competitor flies the full slalom course passing through all the set gates in order and against the clock from a static start.

The competitors classification is calculated according to the time taken on the course (with any added penalty markes/times)

Missed Gate - upto 30 seconds penalty or elimination from the round.
No ground contact in a Gate "touch" zone = 5 seconds

The competitors start in the order as defined at the beginning of the round (drawn lots).
If a second round is to be run the top 16 riders fly in reverse order.



Gate dimensions are the same as for the Slalom.

The course is set with 2 tracks to create a parallel slalom course with the same number of gates and roughly the same difficulty.
Each side of the course is marked with same coloured gates (Left = Red, Right = Blue)
competitors must keep within their marked course and not impeed their opponent - Dangerous Flying = Disqualification from the round.

There is a stopwatch for each course (Red & Blue).

A ski recognition of the course shall be made by the RD with all the competitors.

All competitors do a qualifying round on an individual slalom.

The top 8 are qualified for the final which takes place on a parallel slalom with direct elimination.
Each competitor alternately completes the two slalom courses (blue and red).
The winner of the round is the one who has the lowest time when their two race’s times are added together plus any added penalties.

Competition is the classic “tournament” type with quarter finals, semi-finals and final with an extra run for third and fourth places.



The start and finish areas will be marked the same as for slalom.
The allowed competition area will not be marked out, flight boundaries will be indicated at the pre-event briefing.
A video camera will film all the competitors flights and the round will be judged and marked later by the competitors on a giant screen.

Competitors will make a reconnaissance flight in the competition area, prior to the start of the round.

In case of strong wind which allows soaring, the maximum length of each competitors performance will be 3 minutes. A sound signal will inform the competitor 60 seconds before the end of their allowed time. If the competitor has not reached and skied across the finish line at the end of the allowed time, they will be penalized 5 points.

At departure, the starter will contact the cameraman to confirm the starting order and that the video camera is recording.

Competitors fly between start and finish markers choosing their own flight path.
During the flight competitors are free to express their own personal riding style, tricks and acro moves.
To finish the pilot must reach and then pass the finish line in contact with the ground.


Scoring of the Freeride rounds:
Round’s placing is established according to 3 marks based on 10 points attributed by the competitors.
All the competitors judge on sheets paper planned for this, in front of a giant screen which broadcasts the day’s runs.

The Line : (Poor = 0 ... 10 = Excellent)
Competitors mark according to difficulty and aesthetic of the flight path chosen by the competitor.

The Technique : (Poor = 0 ... 10 = Excellent)
Competitors mark in relationship with control: of the ski, the wing’s piloting and jumps done.

The Fluidity : (Poor = 0 ... 10 = Excellent)
Competitors mark according to harmony and fluidity of the flight and the ski.


The final mark of the round is attributed according to the following formula:
( Line mark + Technical mark + fluidity mark)-(possible penalties) = Final mark

Penalties are attributed by the Jury (RD and riders committee):
No control of the sail during the race: 1 to 3 pts depending on the piloting fault.
Dangerous behaviour during the race: 5 pts to elimination of the round.
Flight or ski outside the area: 5 pts to elimination of the round.


Details of penalties
Penalties of race: 5 seconds for a crossing outside the gate (slalom)
5 seconds for a “touch” unrealized (slalom)

When the competitor chooses trajectories that allow it to gain time by avoiding deliberately gates or “touch” areas (slalom), the CD may decide of his elimination from the round or attribute him penalty points within 30 seconds.

For parallel slalom rounds (two persons)
Competitors not qualified for the final are ranked according to the time done in the qualification’s slalom

Penalties are the same as for slalom’s rounds.


The final placing of each round:

1st = 100 points
2nd = 90 points
3rd = 80 points
4th = 75 points
5th = 70 points
6th = 65 points
7th = 60 points
8th = 55 points
9th to 62th = 54 to 1 point.
> 62th = 1 point

Multi event competition - the winner is the competitor with the highest score when all the rounds final results are added together.



Between the start and finish lines, the course should be a minimum of 500m and up to 1000m in height and made up of Free-Gates, Ski-Gates and Air-Gates positioned at a minimum of 100m apart. The set course requires a minimum of 1 change in direction within every 300m.
Each gate should be visible from the previous gate.
Finish Line doesn't need to be visible from the Start line.

Competitors pass between the flags and must keep their skis below the height of the flags.

Competitors pass between the flags and must keep at least one of their skis on the ground within the ski zone.


Competitors pass between the flags but must keep both skis above the height of the flags.

Individual Start - Each competitor may enter the start zone 1 minute before their set start time to allow time to position the glider.

Mass Start - All competitors (first 16 from qualifing round) start in reverse order from stationary position at every 3 seconds as indicated by the starter marshalls.

Standard Air Rules apply - The glider ahead has right of way, its the duty of the overtaking pilot to do so safely.

Competitor with the fastest time after any penalty points are added is the winner.




The Start and Finish areas should be marked by vertical banners (normally) visible from each end of the course.

The course is marked out using 'Blade' flags as shown in above photo at an equal distance apart along the full length of the course to form a tight and challenging slalom course.

Blade Running courses are normally layed out on a 60 to 65° slope with a minimum of 350 meters of vertical run. The course is set up in a wide open area above any tree line. More challenging and dangerous course could also include a section between trees on a closed piste.

A Blade running course is normally between 350 - 450 meters in length and a width of 10 meters. The markers (Blade Flags) that define the course are 3 or 4 meters in height.

The competitors Footlaunch then have a preset distance to build speed before entering the marked course. The Object is to complete the narrow course flying between the flags as fast as possible and without touching the ground or any of the flags. The idea is to test pilots canopy handling and flying accuracy.

Your first point of contact to the ground indicates where you land and acquire points.

Ideas for scoring points... Points for each flag passed with penalty points added for each touched/removed flag. No touches the Placings are calculated from time taken to complete the course.




Summer Events

Types of Events

Blade Running

Summer flying competitions are run exactly the same as for winter events - with the only difference there is no ground contact allowed until you cross the finishing line.

Note - Summer flying is far more hazardous.



Flight Accuracy

Competitors start at a set point on the hill or mountain then fly a route down to the target. The pilot is required to position themselves while in flight to be able to hit, touch or remove the designated target.

The above photo is of a balloon suspended between two flexible fibre glass poles.



Target Practice

Competitors start at a set point on the hill or mountain then fly a route down to the target. The pilot is required to judge their landing approach to be able to land on or step on the target as first point of touch. This could also be the required landing as part of the Flight Accuracy test.

Electronic accuracy indicator and Marker Spot example


Pond Swooping

Competitors ground launch and fly to build air speed approaching the landing zone they use a rotating dive to gain more speed. When back under the canopy the object is to maintain level flight for as long as possible.

A Pro Skydive Swooping course entry gate is marked with 5 ft tall wind blades, an approaching pilot must pass between the landing zone entry gates with their feet less than 5ft from the ground. The approach is usually done over water for safety, which can add further options for competion where the pilot can drag their foot across the surface. In Swooping competions there is a full list of body position which score depending on difficulty and style.

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