The Mont-Blanc Air Tour is a demanding paragliding hike & fly competition without assistance.
Playground will be amongst Mont-Blanc, Chablais and Aravis ranges in the French Alps.
This race is one of the 5 world cup events of the worldwide hike & fly circuit.
It is also part of the french hike & fly competition ranking.
This 3 days adventure consists in accomplishing a route (race to goal) as fast as possible through mountain huts (refuges) & mythical summits of Mont-Blanc, Chablais and Aravis ranges of the Alps.
Routing is imposed in order to have a real time follow-up of the ranking for the competitors and spectators.
Validation of the waypoints will be done from the ground and/or in flight depending on the task proposed.
Each day, before 8pm, competitors must have reached a mountain hut to have dinner and spend the night.
Pilots can take advantage of the evenings to share their day stories, their experiences and why not exchange on the possible strategies for the next day.
Please find details and competition rules below.
Details and regulations will be available soon.
Example of a race course
Start : Les Ailes du Mont-Blanc - Chamonix
Arrival : Bois du Bouchet official FFVL landing field – Chamonix
Dates : September 8th to 10th , 2023
Friday September, 8th
7:30 am : Bibs withdrawal + Briefing
9:30 am : Start of the race at Plan-Praz
8pm : Mandatory stay at a mountain hut / Stop of the race
Saturday September; 9th
7am : Restart of the race
8pm : Mandatory stay at a mountain hut / Stop of the race
Sunday September, 10th
7am: Restart of the race
4:30 pm : End of the race
6pm : Rankings, prize giving ceremony and dinner at Bois du Bouchet
The race includes a prologue from the start.
Pilots leave without their gliders from the start of the Plan-Praz cable car and must go to the official Plan-Praz take-off by the vertical kilometer.
As soon as the first pilot arrives at takeoff, he gives a reference time.
Pilots who subsequently arrive at take-off will accumulate a delay time equal to the difference between their time and the reference time.
This delay time will apply when leaving the refuge on the second day.
Once arrived at takeoff, the pilots collect their bags and are free of their itinerary.
NB: The reference time is different between men and women
Example: The reference time by the first pilot (A) is 45'.
Pilot B arrives 10 minutes after pilot A (55'), so he is 10' behind. On the second day, the pilot is authorized to resume the race at 7:10 a.m.
2.1) Race Director / Judges / Race Committee
Race committee will be composed of 3 members:
Rémi Bourdelle (Race Director)
Maxime Pinot (Pilot)
Justin Puthod (Pilot)
The committee role is to rule in case of dispute between competitors and to validate points calculation allowing establishment of the ranking.
Race committee reserves itself the right to adapt race rules if it considers it necessary.
2.2) Hike & Fly conditions
Pilots are the only ones to make necessary decisions regarding choices of hiking routes and choices to fly, in order to preserve their physical integrity and that of others. Analysis and anticipation of terrain and flying conditions, as well as their evolution, must remain a priority at all times.
2.3) Postponement or cancellation conditions
In case weather forecast looks particularly inauspicious, race committee reserves itself the right to postpone race start. Similarly, it may deactivate the race partially over the total length of the task. In this case, pilots will be informed by text messages on their mobile phones.
3) Terms and conditions
3.1) Registration procedure
This first edition of the race will host a maximum of 50 competitors.
Pilots’ selection will mainly be made according to their hike & fly experience level.
The first complete and validated applications will be given priority. Beyond that, pilots will be put on a waiting list in the order of registration (complete file). Race organization reserves itself the right to invite additional pilots (Wild Cards). It also reserves itself the right to refuse a pilot if he/she doesn’t show the required qualities to safely run this race.
A deposit of €200 will be requested upon delivery of the trackers.
3.2) Registration fees
Registration fee includes:
Half-board accommodation at the mountain huts (2 nights)
Welcome breakfast and sandwich on Friday
Dinner after race
Souvenir gifts for all competitors
Management of race follow-up via Gsm/satellites beacons provided (Flymaster Tracker)
Non-refund clause: in case of withdrawal before July 30th, only 125 € will be refunded, after this date no refund will be made.
In case of registration fees refund, no matter what reason or date of withdrawal, 20 euros will be kept as processing fee.
Like all other sports disciplines, our activity is subjected to French anti-doping rules: the use of doping products is strictly forbidden outside of specific and justified medical prescriptions.
3.4) Environmental respect
Pilots and their assistants commit themselves to not leave any trace of their passage and to respect the environment in which they evolve (fauna, flora and ground).
There are woman & man categories.
Rankings is done in three steps with the following order of priority:
Number of validated waypoints.
The remaining distance to Beaux Mollet
Time of arrival at finish line in Beaux Mollet
Each pilot’s track must include at least one gps point in each waypoint cylinder in order to validate it.
Time lap intake is done by physical signature when pilot arrives on foot at Savoy .
Time lap intake stops when pilot enters the arrival cylinder (1.2km radius) for a flying arrival.
Ranking will be established taking into account "live tracking" elements.
However, the risk of data loss from the system obliges all competitors to provide a personal GPS track in order to verify waypoints validation if the organization requests it. It is therefore important to store GPS tracks for the three days of the race by any means at your convenience.
Error margin tolerance for GPS tracks is 0.1%.
5.1) General terms & conditions of participation
Be over 18 years old
Hold a paragliding pilot's license
Confirmed pilot's license or IPPI 5
Hold a civil aviation liability insurance.
Be autonomous in paragliding and be able to prove a regular practice.
Show a medical certificate for "no counter indication to the practice of hiking & flying over several days in competition", issued less than one year before the time of the race.
5.2) Compulsory equipment
A certified paraglider in working order
A certified rescue parachute in working order
A helmet with climbling or paragliding homologation
A flying harness with certified back protection
A survival blanket
silk liner (Meat Bag)
A fully charged and working mobile phone.
An external battery - powerbank (20’000 mAh minimum)
The tracker provided by the organization
Race committee may inspect pilot's equipment at any time. It is not possible to change flying gear, except in case of deterioration of declared equipment and upon authorization of race committee. For any details on the definition and certification for the different equipments, please refer to the FFVL framework regulation.
Each pilot must hold all of this equipment during race times. It may not be carried by anyone other than the pilot himself during the race.
5.3) Highly recommended equipment
Gloves, waterproof jacket, telescopic poles, spare clothes, compass, knife, sun cream, vario, first aid kit, camel bag, energy bars, sunglasses...
5.4) Live Tracker
Use of a Live Tracker module will allow following up each pilot's race on Internet during the whole event. It doesn’t constitute a proof of the route achieved. Starting, stopping and recharging the Live Tracker are under the responsibility of the pilot. Misuse of the Live Tracker may result in penalties. Each pilot must bring a charging cable. In case of damage to the device, deposit will not be returned.
5.4) Travelling rules
Only 2 means of locomotion are allowed: paragliding and hiking. Any other form of travel is strictly forbidden (swimming, climbing, traction etc.).
Roads: Only pedestrians authorized routes may be used. Each individual may leave these routes at their own risks. Routes subjected to bylaws are prohibited.
Specific rules :
- It is forbidden to land, take off or walk on the glaciers.
- It is forbidden to walk and land on highways and national roads (RNxxx).
Any form of assistance is prohibited (sherpa, opener, etc.), the pilot must wear the equipment he intends to use during the competition
Failure to comply with these rules will result in penalties and could end up with competitor’s disqualification.
5.5) Flying rules
Violation of a controlled airspace will result in penalties for the pilot, and in case of repetition, the immediate disqualification of the pilot. Here are the different forbidden airspaces (available for download):
Flying over the Contamines preserved area below 300m/ground
Flying over the Aiguilles Rouges natural preserved area below 300m/ground
Flying over the Sixt natural preserved area below 300m/ground
A penetration in the R30-A (Chamonix Helicopter Zone)
Landing in forbiden area (Chosalet, Argentière, Lac Combal)
Various quiet areas
The pilot commits to respect visual flight rules that apply to paragliding according to French law. Failure to comply with these rules is a very serious fault that will result in sanctions ranging from penalties to disqualification.
Judges reserve themselves the right to adjust penalties according to seriousness of the facts and underlying intentions.
The pilot must be able to provide a Live Tracking or GPS track of all his hiking and flying movements so that it can be controlled by the organization. Failure to provide a track or part of a track may result in sanctions ranging from a penalty to disqualification of the pilot.
5.6) GPS tracks
A GPS track in ICG / UTM WGS84 files may be requested by the organization as proof of the route taken by the pilot.
This GPS track provided must include at least: 1 point per minute in the air, 1 point every 200 m on the ground.
Each pilot manages the autonomy of his GPS and his batteries
5.7) Penalties application
Race committee reserves itself the right to adjust penalties according to seriousness of the facts and underlying intentions.
Any pilot caught or suspected of cheating may be subject to penalties or, worse, disqualification.
A penalty may also be applied in the event that judges deem a pilot's conduct to be dangerous for his physical integrity, particularly in his choice to fly in extreme conditions (strong wind, storm in the vicinity). This penalty may be applied during the race or afterwards after the tracks have been checked.
6.1) Safety check-ins
Individual check-ins at the latest at 08:00 pm on Friday 8th and Saturday 9th.
On Sunday 10th, check-in must be done by 4.30 pm at the latest.
Check-ins must be done on the Télégram (RACE DIRECTOR)
These safety check-ins allow the organization to avoid unnecessary search and rescue operations launch.
Absence of safety check-in leads to launch search and rescue operations, this absence will be penalised.
If a pilot wishes to leave the Mont-Blanc Air Tour, he/she must immediately inform the organiser who will remove him from the list of registered pilots, or stop his race at his/her withdrawal point.
In the mornings when the race restarts, each pilot must reactivate their Live Tracker and personal GPS within 100m of the mountain hut.
6.2) In case of emergency
Upon arrival on the ground, the pilot must fold the glider IMMEDIATELY.
A paraglider on the ground that is not gathered or folded means: I NEED RESCUE.
Any pilot flying near a pilot in a difficult situation must assist him or warn the Race Director by all means.
The Jury will consider how to compensate the score of the pilot who has rendered assistance.
6.3) International distress signals
If helicopter intervention is required :
Show the letter "Y", for YES, by squeezing legs together and putting arms in a "V" position.
If helicopter assistance is not required:
Show the diagonal of the letter "N" (\) with your arms.
While the helicopter is approaching, competitors must hold or remove any object that could fly away. While the rotor spins, always approach the helicopter from the front and wait for the crew's signal.
7.1) Waypoints validation
The aim of the race is to complete a set route as quickly as possible.
On the validation for mountain huts waypoints is free (hike or fly).
Some exceptional waypoints must be validated MANDATORY on the ground namely:
col de balme hut
On the ground waypoint validation is done by GPS track and selfies, to be sent to the number provided for this purpose. The selfie must include at least :
For mountain huts : recognizable hut structure / building
For summits: a specific noticeable spot allowing objective identification of the summit
All nights will be spent in partner mountain huts, with half board provided. Lunch is at pilot's expense (possibility to book lunch in some huts).
Lodging capacity of each hut is different, pilot can consult them on the Mont-Blanc Air Tour website. Each pilot must call the mountain hut where he wishes to spend the night at the latest at 4pm. After this time, the refuge may possibly refuse a pilot.
Race times are between 7am and 8pm.
Each competitor has the possibility of not sleeping in one of the mountain huts, but must stay in some infrastructure (another hut with guardians, a hotel, a bed and breakfast, a homestay). However, this is not valued, a penalty will be applied.
7.2) Race timing
On September 8th race runs from 9:30am to 8 pm
On September 9th race runs from 7am to 8pm
On September 10th race runs from 7am to 4:30pm.
Night resting time: between 8pm and 7am minimum, pilots must imperatively stop the race during the night rest and sleep in one of the partner shelters.
A penalty will be applied for any arrival after 8pm.
Procedure at the beginning of the day: Turn on the Tracker 10 minute before start race.
Procedure for stopping the race: Within 30 minutes of deciding to stop the race for the day and in any case before 8pm, the pilot sends a text message on Télégram (RACE DIRECTOR) with his pilot’s bib number and the name of the hut he has reached (if not, his precise GPS position).
Participation to the Mont-Blanc Air Tour is under the sole and entire responsibility of the participants. Each participant is required to take out personal insurance for the risks associated with his or her participation, risks for himself or herself and for others. Each participant is required to ensure his or her own physical integrity and that of others by his or her decisions and actions.
The Mont-Blanc Air Tour organization declines all responsibility towards participants and third parties for any damage that may occur as a result of participation in the event. By registering for the Mont-Blanc Air Tour, participants unconditionally accept the above regulations, exonerate the organization from any responsibility towards themselves and undertake to assume alone any responsibility towards third parties that may arise from their participation and their own actions.
9) Images rights
By registering, the competitors authorise the organization, the local paragliding club (Club des Gratte-ciel) as well as any third party it may authorise, to capture and use all audio and video recordings and photographs made during the event and to use their names, images, voice recordings, appearances, actions and gestures, any biographical element, for any purposes (commercial, promotional or other) and on any kind of medium timelessly without any restriction, for any type and quantity and for any means of distribution, without this granting them any other rights, remuneration or indemnity. The ‘Club des Gratte-ciel’, or any third party that it may authorise, shall have the right to use, exploit, broadcast and reproduce the recorded elements on all known or unknown medias such as radio, television, cinema, Internet (...). Furthermore, the organizer, the ‘Club des Gratte-ciel’, shall have the right to adapt, alter, interrupt, delete, cut or make any other modification in or on these elements and to use these modified elements without any restriction. The ‘Club des Gratte-ciel’ shall have the right to transfer all or part of these rights to present or future contractual partners.
10) Mountain huts and waypoints along the route
+2h on the race time in case of penetration of a prohibited airspace of less than 40m horizontal and/or 40m vertical
Disqualification in case of a second penetration in a forbidden airspace or more than 40m horizontal and/or 40m vertical
-2 turn point in case of an overnight stay other than in one of the partner mountain huts
+20 minute penalty per minute late at the hut. The delay is calculated over a radius of 100m from the refuge (example: A pilot arrives at 8:04 p.m. at a hut, he accumulates 1h20 of penalties on his final race time)
-3 turn point if the pilot arrives after 4:30 p.m. at the goal on Sunday
Translated by :
Camille Van Robaeys