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WAG World Air Games 2009

The Olympics of the Air: the World Air Games 2009 (WAG)

19 aprile 2008. Il CAP-10 trasferito nottetempo in piazza Castello per la presentazione del World Air Games


World Air Games 2009 Logo

In the autumn of 2006, the FAI (International Aeronautical Federation headquartered in Lausanne with membership in 102 countries), requested bids for the "World Air Games" (WAG), to be held in June 2009.

The World Air Games are the most important event in the world for sport aviation, being a sort of "Olympics of the Air", with races and competitions covering the following disciplines: Aerobatics (powered and glider), Helicopters (turbine and piston), Gliders (Grand Prix), Parachuting (speed, distance, accuracy, canopy piloting), Hang Gliding, Micro lights, Paragliding, Ballooning, Model Aircraft and Experimental (fly-in and home-built).


The Promotional Committee – Turin's steps towards success

Losanna, 1 giugno 2007. Il presidente della FAI Pierre Portman proclama la vittoria della candidatura di Torino tra l'esultanza dei presentiLogo FAIL'esultanza dei membri del comitato promotore presenti a LosannaAlcuni membri del Comitato promotore festeggiano la vittoria: (da sinistra) Paolo Rota, Pier Luigi Duranti, Patrizia Bugnano (assessore provinciale allo Sport), Eugenio Cuffia, Giuliana Bianco, Silvana Accossato (sindaco di Collegno), Giuseppe Leoni (presidente AeCI), Angelo Moriondo (presidente Comitato promotore), Bruno RambaudiConsidering this as a stimulating challenge, the President of the Turin Aero Club, Angelo Moriondo, set up a "Promotional Committee" which sought out a number of suitable people and found the necessary funds (mainly provided by the Piedmont Region) to formally propose Turin as the organizer of the Games.

Fifteen cities initially proposed themselves as candidates, and Turin passed the first "screening" along with London, Moscow and the Danish city of Odense.

Following a further round of screening, three "finalists" remained – Turin, Moscow and Odense.

On the 1th of June 2007, in the International Olympic Committee Museum in Lausanne, in a packed congress hall, Pierre Portman, the President of the FAI, declared Turin to be the winner and the seat of the World Air Games 2009. It was a tremendous triumph!

The preceding editions of the WAG (1997 and 2001) took place in Turkey and Spain respectively, while the 2005 Games, assigned to Poland, were unfortunately abandoned for organisational and public security reasons.

The "Turin LOC" - Local Organizing Committee of the WAG 2009

Parigi, agosto 2007. La firma del contratto di organizzazione dei World Air Games (da sinistra) Bruno Rambaudi (presidente del comitato organizzatore), Pierre Portman (presidente FAI), Max Bishop (segretario generale FAI), Angelo Moriondo (delegato AeCI)Having completed its mandate, the "Promotional Commettee" was dissolved and on the 24th of July 2007, in the offices of Finpiemonte S.p.A, witnessed by the Public Notary Dr Cilluffo, the company to be known as the "Local Organising Committee of the World Air Games, Turin 2009" was formally constituted. For brevity, this bicame Known as "Turin LOC".

In the early stages, Dr. Bruno Rambaudi was the President of the LOC. This position was later (10th July 2008) taken up by engineer Giuseppe Virigilio. Sponsorship was promised by all the main public bodies interested in the event (Region, Province and Comunes) and the most important associations of the sector (CCIAA, Industrial Union, API, ASCOM Aero Club of Italy etc) as well as some members of the now-disbanded "Promotional Committee".

In August 2007, the President, Bruno Rambaudi, signed an "organizational contract" in Paris with the President of the FAI, Pierre Portman. This contemplated a fee of US$ 500.000 by the organization and an initial budget of 6,9 millioni Euro. The budget had to be reduced to around 4,3 million Euro due to the crisis which was hitting the world economy. The resulting cuts mainly affected the promotional budget and media communications.

The way forward

Following the constitution of the LOC, a huge amount of work was necessary to create an operational structure and locate the skills necessary to organize an International event like this. Fortunately, having recently organised the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, Turin has quite a number of people with experience of how to successfully organise a world ranking competition involving thousands of competitors and officials, operating from different sites, each with its own logistic peculiarities.

The World Air Games was formally illustrated to the Mayor of Turin, Sergio Chiamparino, during an official visit by M. Pierre Portman, President of the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) on the 23rd of October 2007.

On the 19th of April 2008, with a jubilant aeronautical-flavoured street party in Turin's Piazza Castello, the event itself was presented before a large festive crowd as part of the publicity build-up.

To focus the attention of the world's aeronautical fraternity on the coming event, the Aero Club of Turin, working together with the World Air Games Organising Committee and the Aero Club of Italy, proposed and promoted the candidature of St. Vincent, in the nearby Aosta Valley as the site of the 2008 "FAI General Conference" (the previous three had been held in Santiago (Chile), Rhodes and Seul).

23 ottobre 2007, Torino. Presentazione dei World Air games al sindaco (da sinistra) Pierre Portman, Sergio Chiamparino (sindaco di Torino), Renato Montabone (assessore allo Sport), Bruno Rambaudi19 aprile 2008. Presentazione dei World Air Games in Piazza Castello: l'assessore Renato Montabone e il senatore Patrizia Bugnano sul CAP-1019 aprile 2008. Presentazione dei World Air Games a Torino in piazza CastelloOttobre 2008. I delegati della General Conference della FAI presenti a Saint-Vincent


This candidature, supported by the Regional authority of the Aosta Valley and the Casino of St. Vincent won approval, and the Conference took place in the first week of October 2008 at the Grand Hotel Billa in St. Vincent with the participation of delegates from 87 different countries. Following the conclusion of the Conference business, the delegates were brought to Turin to visit the sites proposed for the World Air Games 2009.

Also in 2008, a competition had been set up among the schools in Turin for the design of the World Air Games medals . During the course of the award ceremony held in the council chamber in Rivoli, the jury, presided by the painter Ugo Nespolo, awarded the prize of 1000 Euro to Fiodor Fogliato of I.T.I.S. Bodoni.

The inaugural ceremony

Il sindaco Chiamparino dichiara aperti i Giochi Olimpici dell'Aria


The inaugural ceremony took place on Saturday 6th of June 2009 in the central square of Turin, Piazza San Carlo, where in the presence of all the city officials and a crowd of about 15,000 people. Sergio Chiamparino, the Mayor of Turin, officially declared open the "Olympic Games of the Air", Turin 2009.

The Olympic flame, brought to Italy by the President of the Aero Club of Greece, Mr. Antonis Papadopoulos, was consigned to the final torch-bearer Sergio Dallan, (the world-renowned and Number 1 Italian aerobatic pilot) who lit the Olympic brazier to the sound of the Italian Anthem.

 Inaugural ceremony photogallery

The competitions

The competitions took place from Sunday 7th until Saturday 13th of June, articulated at 4 main sites:

  • The Torino Aeritalia airfield (LIMA), for the majority of the sports, viz: Aerobatics, Helicopters, Gliders, Parachuting, Micro lights, Experimental and outdoor Aero modelling competitions.
  • The City of Turin, for the Opening Ceremony and at the PalaRuffini for the indoor electrically-powered Aero modelling competitions.
  • Avigliana, with its lakes, for the Hang Gliding and Paragliding competitions (aerobatics, slalom and precision landing). The landing area was a raft moored out on the lake.
  • Mondovì, hosted the hot air balloon competitions.

Competitions phootogallery

Prize giving

Bandiere Pietro Filippini, medaglia d'oro per l'acrobazia alianti, tra George Kaminski (Russia) e Erik Pirou (Francia) Podio della gara del grand prix di volo a vela: Giorgio galetto (argento) Sebastian Kawa (oro) e Ronald Termaat (bronze)


The competition was a real success for the italian team that was the top scorer as to the number of olimpic medals, where our athletes obtained 10 in the following races:

4 gold medals
Pietro Filippini Glider Aerobatics
Andrea Iemma Hang-glider Aerobatics
Sandro Pagliarini Experimental: cat. Restored & Reconstructed Aircraft
Massimiliano Sacchi Model aircraft: Hand-launched Gliders
3 silver medals
Giorgio Galetto Glider racing
Filippo Materazzi Model aircraft: Radio-controlled aerobatics
Andrea Rossetto Experimental: cat. Restored & Reconstructed Aircraft
3 bronze medals
Pierluigi Barbero/Luigi Marocco Heli copters: Parallel Slalom e Fender Rigging
Paolo Rossi Soavi/Maurizio Vanzini Ultralight: Pilon Race
Francesco Menozzi Model aircraft: Hand-launched Gliders

Le medaglie assegnate

Le medaglie


Aerobatic - Glider
1 Pietro Filippini ITA
2 Georgy Kaminskiy RUS
3 Erik Piriou FRA
Aerobatics -Power
1 Renaud Ecalle FRA
2 Mikhail Mamistov RUS
3 Gerald Cooper UK
Aeromodelling - Indoor Aeromusicals
1 Fabien Turpaud FRA
2 Martin Müller GER
3 Donatas Pauzuolis LTU
Aeromodelling - Artistic Aerobatics
1 Donatas Pauzuolis LTU
2 Filippo Materazzi ITA
3 Massimo Selva SMR
Aeromodelling - Hand Thrown Gliders
1 Massimiliano Sacchi ITA
2 Alan Bernard Smith RSA
3 Francesco Menozzi ITA
1 Sven Goehler GER
2 Uwe Schneider GER
3 Joe Heartsill USA
Glider Racing
1 Sabastian Kawa POL
2 Giorgio Galetto ITA
3 Ronald Termaat NED
Hang Gliding - Aerobatics
1 Andrea Iemma ITA
2 Guido Gehrmann GER
3 Rafael Lacerda Watson BRA
Hang Gliding - Speed Run
1 Wolfgang Siess AUT
2 Seppi Salvenmoser AUT
3 Roberto Nichelle SWI
1 Nikolai Burov / Viktor Korotaev RUS
2 Georgy Arbuzov / Elena Zhuperina RUS
3 Pierluigi Barbero / Luigi Marocco ITA
Microlight - Pylon Race
1 Robert Grimwood / Chris Saysell UK
2 Robert Keene / Rees Keene UK
3 Paolo Rossi Soavi / Maurizio Vanzini ITA
Microlight - Paramotor Precision
1 Mathieu Rouanet FRA
2 Laurent Salinas CAN
3 Alexandre Mateos FRA
Parachuting Canopy Formation
1 Russia
2 France
3 Sweden
Parachuting Canopy Piloting
1 Jason Moledzki CAN
2 Ian Bobo USA
3 Francisco Neri VEN
Parachuting Landing Accuracy
1 Istvan Asztalos HUN
2 Dimitri Maximov RUS
3 Jindrich Vedmoch CZE
Paragliding Accuracy
1 Goran Djurkovic SER
2 Guangqiang Sheng CHI
3 Matjas Feraric SLO
Paragliding Aerobatics Solo
1 Haracio Llorens Fernandez SPA
2 Antoine Montant FRA
3 Pal Takats HUN
Paragliding Aerobatics Synchro
1 Raul Ivan Rodriguez Fernandez / Felix Rodriguez SPA
2 Pal Takats / Gabor Kezi HUN
3 Alexander Meschuh / Bernd Hornboeck AUT
Experimental Aircraft
1 Eric Raymond USA
2 Christian Guilie FRA
3 Hossein Fakour Moghadam CZE
Restored Aircraft
1 Sandro Pagliarin ITA
2 Andrea Rossetto ITA
3 Marinel Cheveresan ROM

Medal list by nations

Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
Italy 4 3 3 10
France 3 3 2 8
Russia 2 4 0 6
Spain 2 0 0 2
Germany 1 3 0 4
Austria 1 1 1 3
Hungary 1 1 1 3
United Kingdom 1 1 1 3
United States of America 1 1 1 3
Canada 1 1 0 2
Lithuania 1 0 1 2
Poland 1 0 0 1
Serbia 1 0 0 1
China 0 1 0 1
South Africa 0 1 0 1
Czech Republic 0 0 2 2
Brazil 0 0 1 1
Netherlands 0 0 1 1
Romania 0 0 1 1
San Marino 0 0 1 1
Slovenia 0 0 1 1
Sweden 0 0 1 1
Switzerland 0 0 1 1
Venezuela 0 0 1 1

Conclusion Air Show 

On Sunday the 14th of June, the WAG came to an end with a huge Air Show. In the course of this, all the medal winners and many of the other participants took the opportunity to demonstrate their skills before some 40,000 spectators, honouring the event which had received plaudits for both its organisation and the quality of the sport.

Conclusion Air Show Photogallery

The associated works

The effect of the World Air Games was to galvanise and accelerate a series of important investments, both in terms of economic investments and the equally important promotional aspects.

In October 2008, at the north side of the airfield, at a cost of a little under 300,000 Euro, a new hangar was built and the adjacent single-storey clubhouse-type structure completely refurbished. This became the headquarters for a permanent team of WAG admin staff. At the end of the Games, the hangar and the building became the new operational base for the civil SAR helicopter.

Giugno 2009. Il sindaco Silvana Accossato inaugura i nuovi locali dell'AeC Torino 2009. La nuova sede del 118 nella zona nord del campoGiugno 2009. L'AMX posizionato al centro della Rotonda QuarantelliScopertura del cippo dedicato a Manlio Quarantelli alla presenza dei famigliari e delle autorità cittadine

In April-May 2009, the garden area in front of the Aero Club premises was completely replanted, the parking area, access road and internal roads resurfaced and the Club restaurant enlarged and repainted – all for a sum of around 250,000 Euro.

Then, a few days before the start of the WAG, mainly due to an initiative between Alenia Aeronautica (formerly Aeritalia) and the City of Collegno, an inauguration ceremony took place at the roundabout adjacent to the airfield. Here, dedicated to the memory of the Aeritalia test pilot Manlio Quarantelli, the 2nd prototype AM-X (002) was erected on a special plinth, with the commemorative stone offered by the Aero Club of Turin. (Quarantelli died in hospital from injuries sustained in heroically crash-landing the first prototype AM-X (001) after an engine flame-out, rather than ejecting and letting it crash in Collegno.)