Episode 187- The ABC’s of Flying the World Cup

Superfinal, Disentis

This episode was first scheduled as a quick primer to be released on the front of a “normal” podcast interview, but as we began recording it became clear it could stand alone as a show on its own. The World Cup is as high as it gets in competition hang gliding and paragliding. For many it is the ultimate goal in cross country flying. But getting an invitation to fly in the world cup isn’t very straightforward. First there are the many organizations- the FAI, CIVL, PWCA, and a nations flying organization (USHPA, BHPA, etc.). What’s the difference between Cat 1 and Cat 2? What is the WPRS and how does it play into selection? What are letters and why are they important? How do you make the World’s team and how is that different from a world cup? The road to a world cup isn’t very straight, but with a little clarification of the acronyms, and an understanding of how it all works together you can navigate the process quite easily. I sat down with Bill Hughes, who is the treasurer for the PWCA, is on the board at CIVL and USHPA and also works with the FAI to take us through the ABC’s of flying the highest level comps there is. If you have a goal of competing on the world cup this show is for you.

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Speaker 1 (0s): Hi there everybody. Welcome to another episode of the Cloudbase Mayhem. My plan this week was to release, what you're about to hear is just a short primer and then do the show on the backside of that. But just got off the horn here with Bill Hughes and the primer turned into about a 40 minute talk. And so I'm just gonna leave this one as a full show. I am traveling right now, open my mom out with the surgery, so I do not have my pro gear with me, but hopefully the sound will be all fine and dandy on my end.

This is basically, I have been getting a lot of questions on how to get into World Cups. How does it all work? What does WPRS mean? What does civil, what does FAI, and we answer all this for you. Bill works for all of these organizations. He's the treasurer of the world, Cup to the PWCA, and he works for civil. And he's been at this game an awful long time and understands it intimately and understands, you know, cat One and Cat two and NT Ss and rankings and letters.

And here you go. We explain it all. If you're wanting to play a little bit at the, at the highest level, a listen. Cheers, Bill. Good to see your face. Hasn't been too long since we were just racing down at the Menorca. And the super final I've been getting, as I've told you before we started recording, I've getting a lot of questions from listeners who are keen on watching this stuff but don't really understand how it works and how you start competing in World Cups.

And so I thought I'd go to the expert, the guy who works for all these organizations and understands it better than anybody and also understands the scoring. And so I thought where we'd start is just the difference between the various organizations. What is civil, what is the FAI, what is the world Cup? How do they differentiate, how do they work together? Why is it important? Let's start there.

Speaker 2 (2m 21s): Okay. Yeah, great to be here again, Gavin and good, good to see you. Wish it was in warmer conditions like, like we had in Mexico, but oh,

Speaker 1 (2m 31s): It's just perfect every day, isn't it? It's just an amazing

Speaker 2 (2m 34s): Place. That was nice. That

Speaker 1 (2m 37s): Was nice.

Speaker 2 (2m 38s): Yeah. So all the organizations are, are kind of confusing. So at the, at the kind of like top is FAI. So FAI is responsible for all air sports all around the world. And they're actually an Olympic organization. So even though paragliding isn't an Olympic sport, there are other air sports that have been Olympic sports or you know, demonstrations, sports, various things, but, but they're actually affiliated with the, with the ioc. So that helps a lot of countries, especially like in Asia, get sponsorship dollars and things like that because they can say, Hey, FAI wants to do a competition here.

You know, they're an Olympic affiliated organization and so they can get, get sponsorship that way. Civil is one of the air sports organizations underneath FAI and Civil is responsible for all hang gliding and paragliding activities. So FAI kind of like sets the umbrella guidelines for the various air sports. And then there's commissions for, there's civil and then there's like also a parachuting organization.

There's a aero modeling organization and so on. USHPA is affiliated with naa, which is the US National Air Sports Association. And NAA is a member of FAI. When we sanction an application, when we sanction a competition in the us, we're sanctioning it as a FAI category two competition. And the reason that USHPA can do that, isn naa, who's an FAI member, has seated that responsibility to, to the, to the, to USHPA

Speaker 1 (4m 31s): So and so will every country have, and you know, I'm asking these questions, we're trying to kind of paint the very generic, you know, easy picture for people that don't understand and most people don't. Is is, is the, is the, is USHPA something that every country has something like USHPA and something like the naa in other words, to have competitions, you have to be sanctioned under the FAI.

Speaker 2 (4m 58s): Exactly, exactly. Yeah. Every country can have an organization and, and most of them do, like n AA and USHPA, you don't have to, but if you don't have an organization like that and don't pay your dues to the f to the FAI, then you can't do Cat two competitions and you can't send people to the CAT one competitions, which are the continental championships in the world championships.

Speaker 1 (5m 28s): Okay. And civil would be the ones who create the WPRS? Correct. Are they in charge of the, in the WPRS is the world ranking,

Speaker 2 (5m 38s): Right? Exactly, yeah. Civil, civil manages the WPRS, they manage all the sanctioned applications for category two competitions. They create the rule books. So you, you've heard of section or everybody will have heard of section seven. So Section seven is the part, part of the FAI Rule book that governs paragliding and hang gliding and, and Civil is the organization that, that manages that rule book.

Speaker 1 (6m 7s): And the rule book you're talking about would have how competitions are scored, protested, all the Exactly. Things that go, you know, how, how they're operated.

Speaker 2 (6m 18s): Exactly, exactly. One, one common thing that people don't fully understand is the difference between a Cat one and a Cat two competition. So, and Cat one competition, that competition's actually run by civil. So civil sins a steward and a jury, and it's run strictly per the Section seven rule book a category two competition is the purview of the country who sanctioned it and it's recommended that they follow section seven and most of them generally do, but you can override the Section seven rules with local rules in a category two competition.

And you can't do that in a category one competition.

Speaker 1 (7m 5s): I e the monarchs Category two is exactly open cuz they can override the, the rules. So give us some examples of Cat one.

Speaker 2 (7m 14s): So there's, there's four category ones in Paragliding and then there's, then there's separate ones in hang gliding. So in paragliding you've got the Continental Championships, so there's Europeans, there's PanAms PanAms, and then there's the Asians. So each of those is, you know, geographically bound. And so each, each, so like for example in the Pan Americans, anybody in North and South America is invited to send pilots to that competition.

And then same for Europe, same for Asia. And then the World championship is the overall, you know, is the overall highest level of, of category one competitions.

Speaker 1 (8m 1s): And these are run by whom?

Speaker 2 (8m 3s): Well they're, they, they all have a local organizer, but they're, but they're all run by FAI, just like the world championship, even for the, the Continentals, the FAI sends a steward and a jury and it's all run strictly per the section seven rule books.

Speaker 1 (8m 22s): And important to understand, cuz we're getting there with world Cup how to get into World Cups. But these, you do not qualify to Cat one via letters. We'll talk about letters here in a little bit, but How, do you make the World or the Pan-American or the Europeans or the Asians?

Speaker 2 (8m 40s): Yeah, that's a good question. So every, so we'll start with Continentals. So in the Pan-American, each country that's an FAI member is invited. There's, there's a, there's a, what's called an allocation. So it, it, there's allocations done in multiple rounds and you start off with every country getting to send usually three pilots. So it's usually three of, of one gender plus one female.

And then based on how many countries sign up and say that they wanna send pilots, you, you then allocate more slots per nation based on their WPRS ranking. So, you know, if Brazil is ranked number one in the, in the Pan American region, which I think they are right now, they would get the first pick. And then I, I believe we're second. So then we would get the second pick. So if, if, let's say after around one you've got 115 pilots allocated, then there's 125 pilots total.

So you'd have 10 slots that you could allocate. So Brazil could send one more, we could send one more, and then on down the list until the competition's full. And if a and if a country doesn't wanna send three pilots or doesn't have three pilots that qualify, then those slots open up and are reallocated as well. So, and each, each co each country decides how it wants to send. Its, so most countries have a, have a just a, you know, a normal ranking system like the US does, where they just look at the results of the pilot's competitions and, and rank them accordingly.

But you don't have to do it that way. So some countries do it a little bit more arbitrarily. France, for example, doesn't follow their ranking at all. Their, their team leader just chooses who they want to see.

Speaker 1 (10m 42s): Yeah, it's 100% arbitrary. Yeah, yeah. I was, I was curious to find that out. So they just decide based on who's, who's racing well at that level and you know, team dynamics and they choose that way.

Speaker 2 (10m 54s): Exactly, exactly. So, so that's how the Continentals works. And then the worlds works exactly the same way, just on a world, world level. So, you know,

Speaker 1 (11m 5s): And the Continentals happen every year, but the worlds are every other year, correct?

Speaker 2 (11m 9s): No, they're both every other year and they alternate. So this year's worlds, so they won't be Pan-American or Asians. And then next year we'll have the Pan Amer, pan-American Asians, and Europeans.

Speaker 1 (11m 23s): Okay. So next organization I think we should talk about is the world Cup. Yeah. How, how are they different? How is, how and how do you go compete in World Cups?

Speaker 2 (11m 35s): Okay, yeah, the World Cup is really a, a completely separate organization. However, world Cup competitions are also Cat two competitions. So you do still get WPRS points for them, but aside from that, there's really, there's really no no linkage. So World Cup was set up, I don't know, 15, 20 years ago by a group of pilots that just kind of wanted to have their own thing outside the, the, the civil structure.

I think back then civil and FAI were like more complicated and they just, they they wanted something simpler that they could decide how the scoring was gonna work and, and so on and so forth. So World Cups are run by the Paragon World Cup Association, which is a nonprofit headquartered in France. And there's five World Cup events each year. And then there's a super final, and in addition to those, there's pre-World Cups which allow people to qualify for the world Cup events.

And then it also allows the world Cup to vet potential locations for future World Cups. They check out the organizer, they check out the site to see if it's, you know, to see if it's at the level of a world. Cup, world Cups are, are some of the highest world Cup competitions have some of the highest level pilots of any, of any competition because of, of the way you qualify for World Cup events.

Speaker 1 (13m 11s): Okay. So if you are a budding comp pilot, you wanna start racing pre-World Cups. World Cups, what's the path?

Speaker 2 (13m 23s): Okay, yep. So there's, there's a couple different ways you can get into the, to the world Cup. So world Cup selection is done by letters and everybody will have two letters, and there's a number of different ways you could get those letters. So the, the kind of easiest way to understand is every country can have a national championship and a league and your ranking within your league and within your national championship gives you a letter.

So for example, for the US our league is the TSS ranking. That's our, that's our national ranking. And then the national championship is our national championship. So it's the, it's the US net, so it's your score within that. So those generate letters and there's a, what's called a nation's table. So each, the, the, the level of the letter that gets generated is based on essentially how good the country is.

So there's from level one to level seven. So France is pretty much always a level one country. So it has really good letters. Let me look at something real quick and I'll, I'll tell you. So if you're, if you're a level one country, your winner of your national championship is gonna get an A and I think second place also also gets an A.

Yeah. And, and then it, you know, goes down until, like, let's say if you're a level one country, you are 20th place pilot gets a level, gets an e for, for a letter. Okay. A country, a country that's not as good, like a level seven country, the winner of their national championship would get a D as their letter as opposed to an A. And the way the level is calculated is you take the top three pilots from that country in the last world championship and the top three pilots from all of the World cups that were flown last year.

So taking France for an example, in the last world championship, they had the second, third, and fourth ranked pilot. So that's, so that's pretty

Speaker 1 (15m 54s): Good.

Speaker 2 (15m 54s): Yeah, that's pretty good. And they had, and they had, and and four of the World Cups last year were won by French pilots. So that's four of the five. Yeah, four of the five. So that's

Speaker 1 (16m 5s): Plus the super final.

Speaker 2 (16m 6s): Plus the super final. Exactly. So that's, so that's, you know, three points from P W C events and nine points, yeah, nine points from the, from the world. So you add those up and that's their score. And the lower your score is, the better, the better your level is. Okay. So, so this year there's, there's five countries that are level one and then a, a handful of countries that are level two we're level two, which is actually really good.

And then it then it kind of like drops off from there. So last year we were level three, we had some pilots that did pretty well in World Cups last year. And so we, we bumped up to level two this year.

Speaker 1 (16m 54s): Interesting. And you're looking at something. Yeah. What are you looking at to go see that? Can anybody look at that?

Speaker 2 (16m 60s): Yeah, anybody can look at it. So if you go to the PWCA website, you can click on rules and you can see the nation's table. And then you can also see the rule book. So the nation's table changes every year and it gives the current ranking of all the nations. And then the rule book has the table that says, okay, if you're a level one, then these are the letters that you get. If you're a level two here, these are the letters that you get.

Speaker 1 (17m 27s): And that was interesting, you, you just spelled out something that I was unaware of. The, the nation's tables is based on results, right. And in a sense WPRS is obviously, but that's not the same, you know, you, you're, it's it, the, the two don't seem to tie in right there when it comes to letters. Yeah, I know

Speaker 2 (17m 48s): That. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. The one, one of the things that PWC doesn't like about WPRS, which I think is a fair criticism, is that WPRS is very European centric. So if you, if you live in Europe, there's, you know, on any given weekend there's probably two or three national championships that you can drive to that are gonna give you really high WPRS points because, you know, top pilots from Germany and Switzerland and France, you know, just might decide to show up on any given weekend at a, at a competition.

Whereas in the US and Asia, it's not the case at all. So it's kind of a

Speaker 1 (18m 30s): Yeah, we don't have any comps that would

Speaker 2 (18m 31s): Be exactly equivalent. Exactly.

Speaker 1 (18m 33s): We don't have enough people.

Speaker 2 (18m 34s): So it's a real, so it's a real catch 22. You know, we don't have high WPRS ranked pilots or not as many as, as Europe has, so therefore our competitions aren't worth as much and because our competitions aren't worth as much, we again,

Speaker 1 (18m 49s): Can't get

Speaker 2 (18m 50s): Ranked. Can't get ranked, you know, so it's just kind of a cycle. Interesting. So the nation's table is, is meant to, to deal with that. So like for example, if we have, you know, three really hot pilots that go to a bunch of p c events and score reasonably well, we can generate good letters for the country. We don't have to, you know, we don't have to somehow figure out how to draw, you know, Russ Ogden and Luke Armand over to the US to fly competitions in order to, to get up in the high W Paris rankings.

Speaker 1 (19m 23s): Yeah. And I noticed, you know, this year as an example to back that up, I think I was third in the, in the league results and I got an A from it. Yeah. I was blown away that, that's really surprised me. And so that's because the nation's table was two, right? We're second. We're

Speaker 2 (19m 40s): Second. Yeah, exactly. Now that's, that's cause we're level two in the nation's table this year. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (19m 44s): Okay. Fascinating. Okay, so to just summarize this for someone getting into it, okay, well actually first, how do you get into a PWCA? Pre pwc? Yeah,

Speaker 2 (19m 55s): Pre pwc. Yeah, so anybody can enter a pre pwc. So a pre PWC is just an open event. They're not allowed to, you know, discriminate based on, you know, WPRS or letters or anything like that. So it's just open registration. Anybody can sign up and, and it's, it's typically pretty easy to get into. A lot of the pre PWCs on any, in any given year there might be 10 or 12 pre PWCs and they're just regular CAT two events that the organizer has decided to make a pre pwc and the PWC has to accept it, it has to be like a reasonable, you know, a reasonable chance that this could be a venue for a future pwc at some point.

We're not gonna, we're not gonna make some completely rinky-dink competition, you know, with eight pilots in the middle of nowhere, a pre pwc. So that's the best way, that's how I got in. I got in by doing a pre pwc and it was the one in Shalan actually that, that happened, you know, years ago, I think 15, 16 years ago or whatever. So I got a good enough letter from that to get into a pwc and then I got a good enough score from that PWC to get into the super final that year.

So it's a, it's a latter effect. So you get letters from pre PWCs from your national championship, from your league, and then you can also travel to other people's national championships. So you could go to Canada's national championship for example. It won't, wouldn't be as highly ranked as the US but it's, it's still gonna generate a letter. If you win the Canadian National Championship, you're, you're gonna get a decent letter out of it. You probably won't get an A, but you might get A, a, C or B, something like that.

Speaker 1 (21m 47s): Now I think, I think something that would be wise for us to talk about, cuz this is, again, it's gonna be a little different, but for the most part from the people I've asked, it's pretty similar. Now France is subjective to make the world's team or, you know, right. But they also have their own ranking system. And as we do, so folks listening, if you know, if you're not part of the US we're gonna be talking about the NT ss, but it's almost certainly very similar in the country you're in. So Bill, just explain how the NT SS works and why it's important.

Speaker 2 (22m 22s): Yeah, yeah. So the N NTSS is our, is our ranking system. So it's intended to give us pilots a a fair shot at, at getting a decent ranking and, and you know, possibly being selected for, you know, Continentals or, or world team. And the way it works is you take your best four scores and only two of those can be foreign comps. So what we're trying to avoid is we're trying to avoid, you know, our, our best pilots just Flying around the world and doing other people's comps and you know, getting a bunch of of points from those and, and you know, a not supporting the US competition scene be by not going to the events which hurts our organizers.

And then b you know, competing against the actual US pilots. So they're approving, you know, that, you know, they're at a certain level versus the US pilots. So, so like for example, you might have, and we do count Mexico as a US comp, we made that change I think like four or five years ago. So your, your best scores might be Menorca and Shalan, for example, those two competitions and then, you know, two foreign competitions and those generate a certain number of points and that adds up to your N TSS score.

Each competition can have a maximum of 600 points. So a fully, so first place in a fully valid comp in the US would get you 600 points. If you go to a foreign competition, then the, the pilot quality validity is based on the, the US pilots that are there. And then foreign pilots are given a, a score analogous to the score that a US pilot would give based on their WPRS ranking. So, go ahead.

Speaker 1 (24m 19s): Well, I was just gonna say for example, and I think this is where people get really confused, you know, if you, you're trying to get a letter, there's a comp going on right now in Columbia that I hadn't even heard of. It's, it's happening right now, it's on Air Tribune and the pilot quality's really high sabina's there, he was top 10 and the super final and there's a, there's a bunch of really good pilots there. And, and, and so that's gonna be a fully valid comp. And as I understand looking at it and you know, if you did reasonably well there, you're gonna get a really good score and that could be one of your two foreign scores.

Right? And, and again, if you're not N tss, it's gonna be very similar, you know, you know, it'd be a very important comp for a British citizen to go to or Swiss or anybody, you know, there's, there's, there's talent from all over the world. They're, they're highly ranked in WPRS, at least the top 20, you know, Michael Glock's there, he was top 10 in the super final. So you've got great quality there and you can get a great score and then that's, that alone will not give you a letter, but that's gonna be one of your top scores if you do well. And that will, that will add up when it comes to the league

Speaker 2 (25m 27s): Score. Exactly, exactly. Yep.

Speaker 1 (25m 31s): So two letters. Explain that. How does that work?

Speaker 2 (25m 34s): Yeah, so you get two letters. So let's say, let's say that somebody went to three P B C events last year they did the US National Championship and, and of course they're in the league. So they have, and they did two pre PWCs. So that would give them seven chances to get a letter. Actually it would generate seven letters and then, and then your, your, your PWC letters for getting into competitions are just your best two.

So if you've got an A from the US Nats and you've got a C from, you know, the, the pre PWC that you did and everything else is, is lower than your letters would be ac. So when it comes time to select people for a pwc, you start with the first letter. So all of the As are selected first. And then to differentiate between the, A's it's, you start at aa, then you go to ABC A, A D, and on down the list.

And then after all of the A's who have signed up have either you know, decided that they're gonna go or declined, then you go to the b's, then you go to the cs, then, then you go to the ds. So that's how that works.

Speaker 1 (26m 46s): And how does, okay, I wanna go do a world Cup in Brazil, what letters would I need to get in?

Speaker 2 (26m 53s): Yeah, it, it's different. It's, that's a good question. So it's different for different venues. Typically for Brazil you could probably get in with the C and and possibly even even a D and south

Speaker 1 (27m 9s): You've got, you only need, you've got a C or a D, it's second letter doesn't even matter.

Speaker 2 (27m 14s): Right, exactly. Exactly. Yeah. Okay. And then for if in France it's probably gonna not gonna go below B. So because there's obviously, there's so many good pilots in France and Europe and it's easy for them to get to for a PWC in Asia it might go down to H or I or even even lower because there aren't a lot of pilots in Asia that have high ranking letters, which is why the Paragon world, Cup started the Asian tour, which we can talk about if you want.

And then South Africa for example, sometimes has pwc and that's hard for a lot of people to get to. A lot of Europeans just aren't gonna go to the trouble of getting there. So you know, you can get into South Africa with a, with a lower letter. So if I was a new pilot and I was like wanting to break into the pbc, I would look at the list of, of pre PWCs and I would pick one that is, you know, I wouldn't pick one in France or in Spain.

I wouldn't pick one in Europe at all because it's gonna, you know, it's gonna be highly competitive and there's gonna be really good pilots there. I would pick one in, you know, south America last year there was one in Chile that was, anybody could have gotten into that or I pick one in Korea or you know, South Africa or Canada, if Canada had a pre pwc. And then I would just go to as many pre PWCs as I could and eventually hope to get a good score.

Speaker 1 (28m 49s): And because really if you're looking for to be expeditious, that's the easiest way to get a letter. It's one comp seven days, boom, you're done. Exactly. Whereas the league, it's the end of the year, it's the rankings as of January 1st the following season. So it's the whole year you got, you gotta, you gotta wait around. Yeah. And say, and for the na and for the nationals as well. And countries differ here. Some nationals are one event, you know, ours is typically two or even three. Right. And so again, it's kind of the whole season Exactly. Before that's tabulated and submitted, correct.

Speaker 2 (29m 20s): Yeah, yeah, exactly. Yeah. And and you know, the US has, has really gotten better and better. I mean we have a lot of really good pilots now. So, you know, it used to be when I first started Flying that it was, it was easier back then to be in the top 15, top 20 in the US than it is now. Now we've got a ton of really good pilots and so, you know, it's, it's hard to, it's hard to count on getting a good letter from your, from your US league.

Speaker 1 (29m 51s): Right. Okay. So that makes even, even weightier that, that, so as an organizer, and this is curious cuz I've just recently started being an organizer. What, what's the down, is there any downside to declaring your cat two a pre pwc? I mean, you know, that was quite easy for us to do. We paid the money Yeah. Mean it costs a little bit more, but I think it's relevant to talk about the hurdles that you have to go through. I mean, in in, in my case, if I didn't have you, that would've been quite expensive, right?

Because we have to fly them over. So talk about that just a little bit for those. Curious about running comps?

Speaker 2 (30m 29s): Yeah, yeah. So it's, it, yeah, there's no downside other than the cost. So when you, when you want to be a pre pwc, you have to pay the fee, which right now is, is 800 euros. And then you also have to pay for the observer. You don't have to pay for their flight, PWC pays for that, but you have to pay for their accommodations and their food and you have to get 'em from the airport to the venue and back. So, you know, depending upon where you are, all of that can, can add up.

I mean in a place like, you know, Shalan or, or even, well any place in the US you know, hotel costs are high, transportation costs are high. So, you know, that can add up the, the, the benefit of of having a, a pre PWC is obviously it generates letters which, which should increase participation. So you're gonna draw pilots that you wouldn't normally get if it wasn't to pre pvc. Cuz people are gonna do, like I said, they're gonna look at the pre PBC list and say, Hey, that looks like a, a cool place to fly, boys wanted to go to Red Rocks and I might be able to get a letter.

So I think I'm gonna sign up for that.

Speaker 1 (31m 35s): Hmm. Okay. We missed anything here. This is a really good, I mean the, that's, I I think that's, we've hit a lot there, but there we've got civil, FAI, USHPA, naa, you know, FAI is kind of the overriding umbrella. We've got Cat one, cat two, we've got the letters, we've got the each country's ranking system. Yeah. And how we get in, I and I I didn't know that's interesting. And really when it comes down to it, you know, the higher level World Cups, yeah, you're gonna need both.

But at the lower level you just need one letter. Ah, I know what I need to ask you. Okay. Those letters last forever.

Speaker 2 (32m 14s): No, no, no, that's good. That's a good point too. Yeah. So that would be nice actually. It

Speaker 1 (32m 18s): Wouldn't be nice. That would be nice, wouldn't it? Yeah,

Speaker 2 (32m 21s): So, so no, the only, the only letter that lasts forever is if you win a super final, you get a permanent aa. So it's, yeah. So, so you now

Speaker 1 (32m 32s): You get a permanent aa, I just thought you got permanently into the super final, but that's just, you're locked in, huh?

Speaker 2 (32m 37s): Yeah, permanent aa. Wow,

Speaker 1 (32m 39s): That's

Speaker 2 (32m 40s): Cool. Yeah. What, what would be nice if he, if you won more than one super final, if you could give him away to your friends so that like people, like people like honoring could like give his away or something.

Speaker 1 (32m 51s): There you go. Yeah, you're having a, yeah,

Speaker 2 (32m 53s): He's got somebody he doesn't need. But yeah, so, so after, after the current year, you can, you can use a letter from the previous year, but it's devalued by two. So if you had a B this year and then your results for 2023 were just crap, you could, you could take the B and devalue it to a D and you can keep that after that it doesn't devalue anymore. So you can only, you can only keep that devalued letter one year.

And if, and if the letter came from a PWC event, it's only devalued by one. So if you got a a c, if you got a C from a para world Cup event, it would just devalue to a D, whereas your national ranking or your league score would devalue by two

Speaker 1 (33m 44s): Wildcards. That's what I was gonna ask you. How's that work?

Speaker 2 (33m 47s): So each PWC partner gets one wildcard per year. And so, you know, typically they give those wildcards to factory pilots and a lot of times it'll be a factory pilot who's got a prototype they wanna try out, we don't call 'em prototypes anymore, but each manufacturer can fly a ready for certification wing in a, in a p DPC competition. So they send in all the paperwork, they say, you know, here, this, this swing's ready for certification.

We just need to test it out in real, real world conditions. And if, if they have a pilot, if, if they don't have a pilot who's qualified to fly it in that event, they can use their wild card to get that, to get that pilot in the partners, there's a bunch of PWC partners that aren't equipment manufacturers, and so they allocate their wildcards, however, however they feel like doing it. The other, the other way you can get a wildcard is from an organizer. So an organizer gets a handful of wildcards that they can allocate and typically they allocate them to people who have helped sponsor them.

So like for example, if there's a competition in Brazil and that, and the, you know, the local phone company is a sponsor, something like that, they might, they might give the the wild card to somebody who helped kind of make that happen or whatever. But organizers can, can use whatever criteria they want to. It's

Speaker 1 (35m 19s): Up to them.

Speaker 2 (35m 20s): Give those out. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (35m 21s): Yeah. Okay. Okay. Wildcards almost. I was gonna say, you know, when I first got into the game, what I learned too was it often looks pretty desperate. You're not gonna get in and then you get in, you know, if you're, if you're okay with kind of last minute travel, a lot of people tend to cancel late. Yeah. And they just keep going down that list and Yeah. And you know, you just keep an eye on that list and sometimes you get the call.

Speaker 2 (35m 49s): Yeah. Unfortunately, I don't, this is actually, I don't, I'm not really crazy about the way it works, but like typically what people do now is they just, at the beginning of the year, they just sign up for all the PBC events Yep. Regardless of whether they have any intention of going or not. And then when selection happens, they, they get selected, you get notified by the pbc, Hey, you've been selected, you have seven days to let us know whether you, whether you can con whether you can attend. And then they look at their calendar and they might, they might realize, oh, it's, I I can't attend this anyway.

Yeah. And so then they'll decline and that'll, that'll just keep happening until the competition's filled up. So you're right, a lot of times a lot of people will have signed up at the beginning of the year since then they've gotten a conflict and so they'll, they'll decline or they'll cancel, you know, they, they, they said yes initially, but then something happened and they decided to cancel. So there's quite a bit of that. So yeah, don't lose hope. I mean, if you sign up for an event, you know, don't lose hope until last minute.

And you're right. If you, if you're the kind of person that can be flexible and can can, you know, go at the, you know, relatively last minute, like in the, you know, with the weeks or a week or two weeks notice, you, you might get in,

Speaker 1 (37m 12s): Bill, this one's important. How do, how do we tell the pwc that we have, we need a letter, right? What am I trying to say? That you have to declare your results and I think a lot of people don't understand that.

Speaker 2 (37m 28s): Yeah, yeah, yeah, that's a good point. We should have done that. So the first thing that you should do if you're interested in PWCs, is go to the website and create an account. And so it doesn't cost anything to create the account. You, you know, enter in your, your pilot info and, and and things like that. And once you have created an account, you can now sign up for competitions and declare your results. So it's, it's just a screen that you go to and you say, okay, I wanna declare results.

And you get a dropdown list and you would say, I wanna declare my result from the US nationals. I wanna declare my result from the US League. And any other things that, every single thing that could possibly generate a letter is given to you as a choice for declaring results. And then you just say, I was, you know, whatever fifth, 10th, 15th in the US nationals. And that then goes to Laura at the pbc, she validates it. So like for the us I send in the results every year of our national championship and our, and our league and, and every country has someone like me who does that same thing.

So you may sign up and say, I was fifth. And Laura might come back and say, well actually you were fourth because she's, she's got the result. And so she validates that you've signed up with the right, with the right, with the right ranking. So yeah, once, once you sign up for the events, then, then you're on the list on the selection list. So if you go to the page for Brazil, for example, you can see one of the tabs is selection. And you can go and you can see the selection list, you can see all of the people who are signed up and whether they've been confirmed or whether they're in the waiting list and you can see where their letters are.

So you can, you can kind of like figure out what the odds are. You, you can look and say, okay, well there's 70 people that are already confirmed and I'm, I I'm 20 down the list. Yeah, you're you're probably gonna get selected. Yeah, yeah,

Speaker 1 (39m 36s): Yeah, yeah, yeah. Bill, you mentioned the Asian tour. I don't know much about it. Talk about that a little bit.

Speaker 2 (39m 42s): Yeah, so the Asian tour was set up really to, to help foster growth in the Asian countries and give the Asian pilots opportunities to get letters. There's a lot of really, really good pilots in Asia and you know, it's, it's hard for them to, to get over to Europe and sometimes even the US to, to do events. And so the Asian tour was set up gin of gin gliders. He was really instrumental in, in setting it up. And so it's really just another set of P D C events except that, except that, you know, they're in Asia.

So Asian tour events are also a really good way to get letters. They're a little bit different than the regular PWC events. So in the regular PWC event, the top 15 pilots will automatically get selected for the super final. And then depending upon how many duplications there are between p DBC events, it might go down to the top 20 or top 25 pilots getting selected for the super final. So the Asian tour, just the top pilot from an Asian tour event gets automatically selected for the super final, but you get really good letters from Asian tour events and, and a selection might even, might even go deeper in the future for Asian tour events.

So Asian tour event, Asian tour events are super fun and you know, they're, they're, they're a good way to, especially for us pilots, is it's relatively easy for us to get to most of the Asian tour events as compared to somebody in Europe, for example.

Speaker 1 (41m 19s): Yeah, and I've hear awesome stories. I haven't gone to any of 'em, but I've heard, I heard awesome stories about just the cultural experiences and the organizations and the stoke and Oh yeah, it sounds like a must do it, it sounds terrific.

Speaker 2 (41m 33s): It really is fantastic. Yeah, I mean the Asian countries really roll out the red carpet. I mean, you feel like a v I p they have like insane opening and clo and ceremonies, you know, they'll bring in like, like local rock stars. It's just, it's, it's, it's pretty nuts. That's awesome. It's a lot of fun. That's awesome.

Speaker 1 (41m 51s): Yeah. Yeah. Very cool. I wanted to ask you, so yeah, that's something we didn't touch on either is the super final selection. So there's five World Cups, you said if you're top 15, you're automatically in. Does that change, you know, is if it's the Macedonia world Cup versus, you know, Argentina, you know, if the, if the pilot quality is, is much higher at one, does does, do they go deeper in that one or is it just straight across the board? Okay, top take, top 15, get rid of the, you know, the do-overs and then we go to 16 and then on the, on the

Speaker 2 (42m 23s): Line. Yeah, so automatic qualification is top 15 overall and top three women. And the only thing that'll take that number down is the, the validity of the comp. So as long as the, as long as the competition has at least two fully valid days or three or four days that add up to, you know, 2000 points, it'll be, it'll be fully valid below that and, and it could drop off. So you could get, you know, just the top 10 pilots or just the top five pilots.

If you only get like, you know, one task, for example in a, in a pdc. Ok. So that doesn't happen very often, but it, it could happen. And like I said, so you get like the top 15 from each and, and the top three women from each event and typically you've got a lot of duplications within that. So you know, somebody will be in the top 15 of two comps or three comps. And so all of those extra slots are then allocated based, based on the quality of the, of the events.

But as long as it's fully valid, they're all equal quality

Speaker 1 (43m 30s): Bill, super helpful. I really appreciate it. I think this is gonna be helpful to our listeners and see you in Brazil, dude.

Speaker 2 (43m 38s): Yeah, happy to help see you there.

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