The following changes were implemented for this season:
After years of forcing people to remember where they had put their cheque books, we are finally accepting online payments via Paypal. There has been a small increase in the payment (up to £6), to cover the extra costs as well as provide more prizes for the winners.
From this season the XC League's finances are being run independently (rather than going into the Paragliding Competition Panel's pot), which will give us the freedom to give more cash prizes, as well as continuing to fund the trophies for all the winners.
The last day of the winter league has been brought forward from the end of March to the end of February. The winter league is intended for flights that are not undertaken in thermic conditions but utilise ridge lift or similar instead. It has become clear in recent years that the XC season is starting earlier and many flights are being undertaken in March in thermic conditions, and therefore do not really form part of the winter league.
Despite the fact that we abandoned the criteria of inland ridge-lift back in 2008, the problems will simply not go away. The two-tier distance system for loop flights was also introduced to award lower multipliers for shorter flights that are often undertaken in ridge lift, but this has not worked as well as intended where pilots have used one of several ridges in the UK to achieve flights of more than 25km and get the higher multiplier. Without wishing to go back to the impossibly tricky judgement calls of the past (was it ridge-lift? was it thermic? etc), we have increased the distance for the higher multiplier to 35km for Flat Triangles and Out and Returns.
The intention is to encourage pilots to attempt FAI Triangles but still be rewarded if they fail. Note that within a Flat Triangle, it is often possible to find a smaller FAI Triangle which will now score more (see below).
For the same reasons as stated above the minimum distance for declared Out and Return flights has been increased from 25km to 35km. Note that it is still possible to get a UK record (male 31.1km; female none) with a shorter flight, but you will not be awarded a multiplier.
In order to encourage more FAI Triangles to be flown, the multipliers have increased slightly from 2 to 2.2 (<25km), and from 2.7 to 2.8 (25km+).
Since the multiplier for Goal Flights was reduced the number of these flights being entered has reduced significantly. To encourage more of these declared flights the multiplier has been increased slightly from 1.25 to 1.3.
The lower altitude limit for flights that pass under controlled airspace that require a 3D tracklog has been increased from 2500ft to 3500ft. With the growing use of GPS, it was felt that we should increase the mandatory requirements to avoid any future possible problems where flights are made under 3500ft airspace but no track log is supplied.
Experimental at this stage, particularly the multipliers. Will doubtless evolve after a season's use.