On a global scale, the air sports community’s environmental impact is fairly minimal – partly thanks to the longevity of the equipment used. However, as the world governing body for air sports, one of the FAI’s aims is to find ways to reduce any negative effects air sports do have on people, wildlife and the world itself, while protecting the right of aviation enthusiasts and fans to continue enjoying their chosen disciplines. The FAI Environmental Commission is charged with spearheading our efforts towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. In the words of FAI Environmental Commission President Pierre Duval: “Just because our impact is small does not mean there is no need to work to reduce it, or to improve people’s perception of it.”

The fai environmental code

One of the FAI Environmental Commission’s main priorities is upholding the FAI’s Environmental Policy and Code. The aim of the Environmental Code is to raise awareness about environmental issues in air sports and to further sustainability measures among pilots and others involved in air sports. The FAI Environmental Commission is responsible within the FAI for monitoring the impact of air sports on the environment, and for recommending action where we fall short.

Cleaner and greener

From electric-powered paramotors to solar-powered planes, technological advances are helping air sports to become cleaner and greener. The FAI works hard to adapt its sporting code and create new records to accommodate these developments. It also rewards people and organisations for innovations that allow air sports to become more environmentally friendly. Last year, for example, Professor Frank Anton from Siemens received the FAI Environment Commission Award for his work on electric aircraft, which bring the potential for a sharp decrease in air sports’ sound footprint. “Human flight only became possible and evolved to its current state as a result of pioneers harnessing the most advanced technologies of their era,” Duval said. “Part of the Environmental Commission’s role is to continue the FAI tradition of supporting these advances.”

The fai “green” event standard

One of the FAI’s main environmental projects at the moment is to introduce a “green” standard across the hundreds of air sports events it runs and supports each year. “To protect and improve the image of air sports from an ecological point of view, it is important to demonstrate how much we are striving to respect the environment at FAI events,” Duval said. “This is why the Environmental Commission has developed a ‘green’ certification procedure for competitions and gatherings in a bid to ensure that all impact reduction criteria are taken into account.”