Excitement is mounting in Dubai, where the stars of the air sports world have touched down for the FAI World Air Games (WAG) Dubai 2015.
With 854 competitors from 55 countries competing in 23 different disciplines, this year’s WAG is set to be the best yet. “This is the biggest FAI World Air Games ever,” said Susanne Schödel, the secretary general of the World Air Sports Federation (FAI). “In the 110-year history of the FAI, it’s the first time we have had an event like this.”
Most of the action starts tomorrow, when airship pilots and hot air balloonists will be among the athletes taking to the skies. The spectacular opening ceremony will take place on December 3 at the WAG headquarters – the Skydive Dubai Palm Dropzone. Equipped with a runway, a parachute landing area and a swooping pond, the state-of-the-art site is an impressive new addition to the Dubai waterfront.
His Excellency Yousif Hassan Al Hammadi, the director of the FAI World Air Games, said: “Five years ago there was just sand here. But it’s been my dream for a long time to bring all air sports together. I like air shows, but a competition like this is different. It’s a way to promote air sports in the region.”
The 2015 WAG will run from December 1 until December 12. Disciplines represented at the event will include model aircraft racing, paragliding aerobatics, speed skydiving, and hot air airship racing. And with many of the world’s best pilots battling for supremacy, there are bound to be plenty of thrills along the way.
This evening, visitors to Dubai Mall got a taste of what’s to come when they were treated to a display of tiny, remote-controlled planes dancing to music during the indoor aeromodelling heats. Introducing the competition, His Excellency Yousif Hassan Al Hammadi welcomed competitors in all disciplines and told the crowd how much he was looking forward to the rest of the event. “The skies above Dubai will be busy this week,” he said.
About the FAI World Air Games
The FAI World Air Games, conducted under the rules of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), is the premier international multi-discipline air sports event fielding the world’s top Air Sports athletes.
The FAI World Air Games 2015 has been awarded to the United Arab Emirates and will be held in Dubai. This multi-discipline event will be organised by the Emirates Aerosports Federation under the patronage of the Crown Prince of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and will take place from 1 to 12 December 2015.
Ten air sports are programmed: Aerobatics, Aeromodelling, Aerostats, Amateur-Built Aircraft, General Aviation, Gliding, Microlights & Paramotors, Parachuting, Paragliding and Rotorcraft.
The FAI’s primary goals for this event are to determine “FAI World Air Games Champions”; to showcase air sports to the general public and promote public participation in air sports by attracting
new participants to air sports disciplines; to promote FAI events to other sports organisations and to create an attractive platform for TV, media and other external stakeholders.
The past editions of the Games took place in Turkey (1997), Spain (2001) and Italy (2009).
The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), also known as the World Air Sports Federation, is the world governing body for air sports and for certifying world aviation and space records. The FAI was founded in 1905 and is a non-governmental and non-profit-making organisation recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
FAI activities include Balloons and Airships, Power Flying, Gliding, Helicopter flight, Parachuting, Aeromodelling, Aerobatics, Hang Gliding, Microlight and Paramotor Flying, Amateur-Built and Experimental Aircraft, Manpowered Flying, Paragliding and all other Aeronautic and Astronautic sporting activities.