Lausanne Welcomes FAI - And The Sun Shines.
Saturday 29 May 1999 was a glorious day of uninterrupted sunshine and unrestricted visibility, and an historic day in the annals of the FAI. Crowds of people massed on the banks of Lake Geneva to welcome FAI to Lausanne. To celebrate FAI's official arrival in the Olympic Capital, a reception was held on the terrace of the Olympic Museum, overlooking Lake Geneva and the Savoy Alps beyond. FAI Council Members were honoured to have as their principal guests HE Juan Antonio Samaranch, IOC President, M. Jean-Jacques Schilt, Mayor of Lausanne, and General Fernand Carrel, Chief of Staff of the Swiss Air Force. The central attraction which the crowds gathered to see was a display of air sports over the lake, organised by the Aero Club of Switzerland, starting with fly-pasts by old and new: a 1930s Tiger Moth and a state-of-the-art Stemme S10 motor glider. There followed precision parachuting into the confined and steeply-terrassed garden of the Museum, featuring the Swiss Accuracy Landing Champion and James Bond stunt-man B J Worth in his trademark dinner jacket (a rig he does not normally wear in his other role as FAI Parachute Commission Vice President!). Then came virtuoso aerobatics in a CAP 231; radio-controlled mini-MontgolfiÞres - an unusual and highly colourful spectacle; and a bravado demonstration of paragliding, with the paraglider pilot towed to altitude behind a speedboat on the lake, and then landing back on the boat. Throughout the day, the gardens of the Museum were given over to a static display of air sports - aeromodels, balloons, hang gliders - even a Swiss-manufactured microlight (they can be built here, even if an ill-advised regulatory authority bans them from flying.) In his speech to the guests, FAI President Eilif Ness, said that the day marked the realisation of a long cherished dream. He pointed to the wide range of responsibilities of the FAI - ballooning, through parachuting, and aeromodelling to hang gliding, paragliding, aerobatics and flying in microlights, powered aeroplanes and helicopters, including home builts and continued: "In two years' time - in June 2001 - the FAI World Air Games will be held in Andalucia, Spain. More than 4 000 athletes representing all the different air sports will assemble for a great festival of high level aerial competition. We see this event, in a sense, as our own tribute to the Olympic ideal, and it is fitting that we should be here today in this beautiful setting to celebrate the launch of a new era in our history..... We hope that, at some date in the not too distant future, the Olympic Games will move into the third dimension and include at least one air sport. In the meantime, we pledge to support the Olympic Charter in our own competitions." IOC President Samaranch then received from FAI President Ness, as a permanent reminder of the day on which FAI officially celebrated its arrival in the Olympic Capital, a collage of the winning paintings in the FAI's Young Artists' Contest, depicting how air sports may one day appear on the Olympic programme. The IOC President and Mayor Schilt both warmly welcomed FAI to the Olympic Capital, pledging their continued support to our Federation. It was a memorable day for us all, especially the many children gathered in the park, and the local press coverage was enthusiastic. FAI has a fresh lease of life in its new Swiss home. FÚdÚration AÚronautique Internationale Avenue Mon-Repos 24 CH-1005 Lausanne Switzerland Email : email@example.com Tel : +41 21 345 1070 Fax: +41 21 345 1077