Free flight activities involve an individual piloting an ultralight aircraft or other non-motorized airborne device. These high-risk activities, for recreation or competition, usually involve the participant jumping off a cliff or high mountain in an attempt to land safely in a pre-designated, usually remote location.
Julien Garcia, sports technical advisor to the FFVL, explained the fundamental need for satellite security for these inherently risky sports and said: “ Our members practice free flight all over France, in the Alps and the Pyrenees, and some elite pilots compete all over the world. The reality is that sometimes people go missing and finding them can be extremely difficult. We are responsible for advising our members on safety; but in addition, in activities where we have a managing authority, we absolutely must ensure as much as possible the safety. »
The FFVL is a non-profit association recognized by the French government which represents and manages six main free flight activities and associated disciplines: hang-gliding, paragliding, snow kite and land kite, speed riding, kite and boomerang. The FFVL organizes, directs and promotes the practice of free flight at national and international level.
The FFVL now encourages all of its 40,000 members to wear SPOT devices and its members can benefit from service discounts throughout the summer. He has government-mandated organizational responsibility for officially sanctioned French competitions and the country’s competitors at international events, such as the Paragliding World Cup.
The FFVL also supervises free flight training, having created the EFVL, French School of Free Flight (Ecole Française de Vol Libre) in the Pyrenees, and the EFVL charter, a set of safety and quality standards and rules by which it certifies free flight schools. Young pilots, many of whom are under 18, train three times a week at the EFVL. They are responsible for directing their aircraft through waypoints defined by the trainer and trainer and landing in a pre-designated landing zone. ” With the unpredictability of wind and weather, and the constant uncertainty of GSM mobile range, we need to provide trainers and trainees with constant monitoring and security,“Said Garcia.
SPOT Gen4 is the newest member of Globalstar’s award-winning SPOT family of devices, powered by Globalstar’s fleet of LEO satellites. SPOT features easy to use buttons that can be flexibly configured to send preprogrammed messages, with options for transmission types.
With one push of the SPOT SOS button, an alert is instantly transmitted to SPOT’s global search and rescue service 24/7 with the user’s GPS location coordinates. Emergency communications and incident investigation protocols are immediately implemented, and local first responders are engaged to send assistance precisely where it is needed. To date, SPOT devices have been credited with more than 7,800 rescues worldwide.
Some FFVL members previously used GSM-based live tracking systems unable to provide reliable coverage in the most remote and dangerous mountainous areas. The FFVL considered other satellite devices on the market, but only SPOT provided the combination of ubiquitous range at an economical price.
« Many pilots were already using SPOT Gen4’s predecessor, SPOT Gen3, and we knew how much peace of mind the devices provided.“, Added Garcia. ” Given its reach, reliability, and satellite-compatible pricing that served FFVL’s needs as a non-profit organization, SPOT Gen4 was the obvious choice for our organization.. »
« We are really delighted with our new partnership with the FFVL, and we are delighted that Globalstar and SPOT are helping free flyers in France to practice their sport in complete safety., ” noted Mark O’Connell, Managing Director, Globalstar Europe.