NASP & ASFI importance for paragliding pilots


NASP and ASFI Autonomous body under civil aviation India

The government of India proposes to setup Air sports federation of India(ASFI) under the policy of National Air sports policy. The NASP is under review and seeking public opinion till 31st January 2022.


It is important that the pilots understand the implications of NASP and rules and regulations it proposes to setup. There are many open ends to it and we at paraglidingbilling have done a thorough study of it.


It is suggested to open this policy in a new windows and read the below blog point wise.


 


1). The stated 'Vision' lacks quantifiable metrics and needs to define *top, in terms of revenue, sporting accolades, FAI rankings etc.


2). The stated 'Mission' should be changed from 'To provide' to 'To regulate/govern/enable'.

Providing is delegated to the paragliding associations and states.

No mention of common frameworks of ASFI and conducted research documents.


 

3). The key objectives[7] c. and d. need to specify 'To promote' rather than 'To develop'.


Suggestion:

ASFI can adopt and regulate from FAI standards, with periodical amendments.

Refer: 4. Objectives, point b. [7] point c. Global best practices and Safety.



4). The air sports coverage does not include the following: Wingsuits, Speed flying, Base jumping, Parasailing, kitesurfing.


 

5). WRT [7] point f; Why are members not given voting rights, contradictory to NASP objectives[4](d) ?


Solutions:

1). Let association's presidents vote/nominate members of secretariat and not at discretion of the chairperson.

2). Allow voting rights for representative members of secretariat in general council.

This will allow for minimum government and maximum governance.


 

6). WRT [8] point a; Enumerate the NASP accountability clauses.

Problem: Associations and Presidents also operate air sports clubs. NASP will not be made aware until media prints common occurrence of air sports fatality. Case in point: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/himachal-pradesh-paragliding-accident-kills-tourist-in-bir-billing/articleshow/87839315.cms


 

7). 'Associations' needs to be defined, as per section 8.

Associations can exist at village, town, city, state and have hundreds of presidents, secretary and treasurer. A single town can have multiple associations.


Solutions:

a). Allow ASFI licensed individuals to elect members to executive council. Direct involvement/say of air sports practitioners.

b). Allow single vote for each association at state level in General council and membership.

c). Allow executive council to choose the secretariat.


 

8). Refer: [8] point c, subpoints(i-iii): ASFI needs to regulate/govern licensing through online process and with the help of executive council. This should at-par of FAI regulations, thus IOC. Hence, getting AFSI license is also an international license.


Solutions:

a). An AFSI maintained web portal for air sports practitioners to apply for licenses, as FAI.

b). Develop/recommend a mobile app which uses GPS to warn of red, yellow, zones etc.

e.g. Please search online for 'xctrack app'

c). Having an AFSI recommended app will ensures data for granting licenses, easier adaption of latest technologies and enforcing Air traffic and Global best practices, simply with an app update.

e). All clauses of [14] flight permissions can be easily enforced in flight computers.


d). Insurance: An important topic directly effecting practitioners and customers.

Problems:

Air sports in India is a very small group and being adventure sports, insurance companies are not interested.

Associations have tried and failed at their levels already, for decades.

Tandem or joy rides paying customers are also not insured in their general insurance.


Solutions:

i). ASFI executive council should provide for insurance from remaining national, corporate banks, as a common air sports insurance.

ii). ASFI should make insurance mandatory for all practitioners of air sports.

iii). Mandatory for customers indulging in joy rides.

There is enough numbers at ASFI level than at individual association level.


 

9). Regarding financial sustainability, natural advantages are naturally given but that does Not lead assumption of self sustainability of air sports.


Solution:

Exempt GST of aero clubs and use that for development of new air sports centers, construction of new

runways or repairing existing ones, development of new launch and landing

pads; and financial support for events and training etc.


 

10). Refer [12] Safety: The rise in fatalities is the reason for this autonomous body.

Associations have evidently failed, NASP cannot make the culprits responsible for safety again.


Solutions:

a). Make ASFI adopt FAI Global best practices and through executive council enforce the FAI Global best practices.

b). Adopting FAI guidelines, for initial years, will give ASFI yardsticks to regulate associations.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cities/chandigarh-news/himachal-needs-stricter-safety-rules-for-paragliders-101638618674681.html

c). There should be a maximum cap on the number of tandem joy rides that a pilot can do in one day.

On weekends, any pilot will do as many flights, being tired and compromising safety, to earn as much possible.

Capping 2-3 rides depending on season also ensures that all pilots will get a fair share from commercial rides.


 

11). Refer [13] Registration: Associations have been doing registrations and deaths are common in air sports in India.

All associations quarrel among themselves, bully competition and flaunt safety rules.


Solution:

a). An AFSI online portal for association registration at national level, as per global best practices.


 

12). Refer [15] International visitor/pilots:

To provide "ASFI and the air sports associations will work towards developing a hassle-free

process to enable their movement to India. "


Solutions:

1). Make ASFI adopt FAI guidelines and thus achieving global standards for all.

2). Invest in a ASFI mobile app for online flight permissions and fee collection.

It is not fair for solo pilots to follow 10 different association rules, procedures, permissions etc. in 10 different states for any air sports.


 

13). Refer [16] and [17] : As Government of India's direct involvement is required to effect these changes, General council should make these concerns part of their Vision, Mission and ASFI key objectives.


Solutions:

1). NASP to mention timeframes to achieve import, GST concessions and PLI for ASFI.


 

14). Refer [20] Penalties:


a). How was maximum penalty of 50000/- decided ? Hardly, a deterrent.

b). From the day of incidence until enquiry is completed, the association and accused clubs should be suspended.

c). What happens when there is fatality and proven to be mistake of club and association ?

d). The chairperson cannot know all details of every category of air sport. Include executive council and secretariat

to form an incidence committee under chairperson and they will report their finding for his/her deliberation.


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15). Refer [21], [22] and Safety concerns in general:


Every association needs to appoint a local person as that flying site's 'Safety officer'.

Safety officer does inspection 'daily' as equipment can go bad with every bad landing/takeoff.

He/She decides if the weather is fair air sports or else cancel all flights that day.


Please read: https://www.fai.org/page/safety-handbook


 

16). Refer [23] Cancellation or suspension:


If 'x' association is banned from air sports, then one can form another association and start all over again or join other association or another city association with lax safety concerns as each association is free to make their own rules.

 

17). Refer [24] Power to amend:

a). What is the procedure of submitting amendments ? Submit to your local association ?

b). Submit online to ASFI web portal ?

c). What is the timeline of making amendments ?

 

18). NASP should make fixing the price of joy rides in air sports, a key objective.


Associations fight among themselves and disagree only on price points, its the crux of safety issues and accidents.

Under each association, multiple clubs have their own prices and use sub standard equipment, to lower prices.

Customers, unknowingly, tend to choose least experienced pilots with unflyable equipment, as they offer lowest prices.

This leads to maximum air sports fatalities, in India.


Solutions:


While fixing prices is a complex problem, which should have been tackled by a research committee, required for setting up an Autonomous body(AB), below is a basic criteria for a framework to be developed/matured by ASFI.


a). All air sports provide commercial rides for a certain time duration. This should be a metric for price fixing.

The price ranges for each air sport category, should be fixed in consultation with state presidents and executive council. The state president needs to mediate between each association. This duration also covers wear and tear of flying equipment.


b). The second metric is customer transportation from pick-up to takeoff points.

This addendum is a variable which each association needs to decide/fix for their particular flying site.

Association Presidents will be required to mediate with taxi associations for fixing this variable cost, for each flying site.


c). The third metric is Insurance cost for the customer, if fixed/provided by ASFI is a good source of government income.


d). An government earns through GST, billable only to customer.


e). ASFI web portal can enlist the prices from each association for ease of customer. Fixing the prices will make customer think of safety and seek experienced pilots.


For example, consider paragliding air sport across India, illustrating the solutions above:


(E1) Paragliding tandem rides can be of durations and billed accordingly:

i). 5-10 minutes : Cost 3000/-

ii). 15-20 minutes : Cost 3500/-

iii). 30-40 minutes : Cost 4000/-

iv). 1 hour to 1 hour 30 minutes : Cost 5000/-

v). After 2 hours every additional hour in air is 1500/- plus.


(E2) Paragliding tandems require customers to go to takeoff point in taxis or their vehicle.

This component can be regulated based on taxi rates and number of kms.


(E3) Insurance Cost : Lets assume a 24 hours insurance of 3 lakhs medical coverage for customers of Rs 100


If, I, as a customer takes paragliding ride of 10 minutes(E1), with transportation cost(E2) of Rs 500 to takeoff point in Bir Billing plus Rs 100 (E3) insurance, I should be paying Rs 3600 for tandem rides.


 


Air Sports Federation of India - ASFI and National Air sports Policy - NASP


References:




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