XXI FAI Hang Gliding European Championship 2022


The European Championship is one of the most important hang-gliding competitions. It takes place every two years and decrees which will be the European champion (pilot and team) in charge for the next two years. It is an official competition recognised by the FAI (International Aeronautical Federation) and the Italian NAC (Aero Club d'Italia).

For the fourth time Monte Cucco hosted this FAI 1 level competition from 10 to 23 July 2022. The competition area included a large section of the Umbrian territory and touches the Tuscan (San Sepolcro) and the Marche (Camerino, Muccia) regions.

General rules

A Hang-Gliding race follows the same dynamics as a sailing regatta, with the difference that the first is developed on three dimensions rather than on two. There is an imaginary aerial line that all pilots have to cross after a predetermined time, and there are several turn points (virtual cylinders with variable radius) up to an arrival line. The winner is the pilot who completes the task in the less time. The regularity of the route is guaranteed by the GPS, a device that each competitor uses to navigate around the waypoints.

Each task can cover a distance from 50 to 250 km and the time required to complete each race ranges from 60 minutes to 5 or 6 hours. Considering that much of the time is used for altitude elevation, the average speed is between 30 and 70 km/h, while in the glides from one thermal to the other the modern hang gliders can reach 140 km/h. The winner is the pilot who has reached the highest score (made by the sum of daily scores). The National teams' results are made by the scores of the best three pilots of each team.

The 21st FAI European Hang Gliding Class 1 Championship in Sigillo Italy has come to an end with 9 tasks out of 10 possible covering a "European HG XC comp record" of 1325 km. The weather was perfect for flying and the organising team led by the meet director Tonino Tarsi made it a complete success.

At the closing ceremony, Italian team leader Flavio Tebaldi thanked the Meteo director Damiano Zanocco for his fine forecasts and advice. He not only gave the precise picture of the day but also advised the task committee on which part of the flying site they can use it for the better. As we were happy to witness the clouds "obeyed' him forming perfect streets in the task directions. The task committee also consisted of pilots knowing the flying site well so they managed to get the most out of the weather. At the end of the competition, the pilots said many warm words to Marco Laurenzi ITA, Mario Alonso FRA, and Primos Gricar GER. The work of the safety committee consisting of Grant Crossingham GBR, Alessandro Ploner ITA and Joerg Bajewski GER in co-operation with the safety director Maurizio Tassinari was also very highly praised.

The FAI Jury president Fabio Loro and the FAI Steward Jamie Shelden both confirmed that "we had a very fair, safe, and satisfying competition".

"We had both European pilots and pilots from other continents taking part in the competition. In total, we had 93 pilots from 14 European countries and 4 guest nations".

While tasks were won almost all the time by different pilots in the nation's ranking there was no surprise. In the European ranking, Italy became the leader already in the first round. And since the second task, it was also leading overall leaving only the first one to Australia. Germany was also steadily keeping second place throughout the competition. This victory made Italy the European Champion for the 5th time in a row.

The event was also combined with Trofeo Piero Alberini - traditional annual open hang gliding meet in Monte Cucco named after the local pilot who discovered and developed this flying site in the early 80s. Among guest pilots the best rank got Jon Durand from Australia - his result is 9th in the Trofeo Open ranking. Pedro Garcia was 12th and Akira Nagusa is 26th. The achievement of this 29-year-old Japanese pilot is remarkable: arriving at the competition right after COVID recovery on a rented wing he managed to leave behind many experienced pilots. The staff adored and cherished him, so no wonder the young man soon started speaking Italian.

Top 11

Top 6

The main heroes of the event, European pilots, had a tough battle for the 2nd and 3rd places on the podium. At first, the French David Grégoire and the British Grant Crossingham were in the lead. The Italian Alessandro Ploner got on top first overall in the 3d task and never left it with about 200 points difference thus securing his 3rd European champion title in addition to his 5 World Champion titles - 3 in Class 1 and 2 in Class 5.

Hence the main intrigue was about silver and bronze. At various tasks, there were different candidates, Grant Crossingham GBR, Primoz Gricar GER, and Marco Laurenzi ITA. Christian Ciech ITA managed to get in the top 3 only in round 7 and preserved his 2nd place throughput tasks 8 and 9 as well. German pilot Primoz Gricar - the winner of the longest task of the competition (201 km) - kept third place in the Championship.

Congratulations to the winners!

Accuracy Landing - Men
1st: Mathieu Guinde FRA
2nd: Mohamed Al Atas QAT
3rd: Georges Toth SUI

Freefall Style - Men
1st: Elischa Weber GER
2nd: Robin Griesheimer GER
3rd: Jean Vignuales FRA

Overall - Men
1st: Robin Griesheimer GER
2nd: Oldrich Sorf CZE
3rd: Mathieu GUinde FRA

Team Accuracy Landing - Men
1st: Czech Republic
2nd: Switzerland
3rd: France

Nation - Men
1st: Czech Republic
2nd: Germany
3rd: France

Accuracy Landing - Female
1st: Deborah Ferrand FRA
2nd: Leocadie Olliver de Pury FRA
3rd: Natalia Velidtchenko USA

Freefall Style - Female
1st: Leocadie Olliver de Pury FRA
2nd: Deborah Ferrand FRA
3rd: Natalia Velidtchenko USA


1. Alessandro Ploner ITA
2. Christian Ciech ITA
3. Primoz Gricar GER


1st: Deborah Ferrand FRA
1st: Leocadie Olliver de Pury FRA
3rd: Natalia Velidtchenko USA

1st: Sophie Grill AUT
1st: Zoe Stoll GER

Team Accuracy - Female
1st: France
2nd: Austria
3rd: Switzerland

Nation - Female
1st: France

Accuracy Landing - Men - Junior
1st: Nils Kammer GER
2nd: Mathias Demmler GER
3rd: Saleh Al Abidi QAT

Freefall Style - Men - Junior
1st: Nils Kammer GER
2nd: Michael Urban AUT
3rd: Mathias Demmler GER

Overall - Men - Junior
1st: Nils Kammer GER
2nd: Mathias Demmler GER
3rd: Michael Urban AUT

Accuracy Landing - Female - Junior
1st: Sophie Grill AUT
2nd: Zoe Stoll GER
3rd: Bianca-Georgiana Cret ROU

Freefall Style - Female - Junior
1st: Zoe Stoll GER
2nd: Sophie Grill AUT

Overall - Female - Junior
1st: Sophie Grill AUT
2nd: Zoe Stoll GER


1. Italy
2. Germany
3. The Czech Republic

Events 2022
Hanggliding and Paragliding

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