Globalstar Europe Satellite Services Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Globalstar Inc. (NYSE American: GSAT), announces that Fédération Française de Vol Libre (FFVL), the French Free Flight Federation, has procured SPOT Gen4 satellite GPS messengers to track and safeguard people who participate in free flight sports, from under-18 trainees, to elite athletes competing on the world stage.
Free flight activities involve an individual piloting an ultra-light plane or other non-motorised airborne apparatus. These high-risk activities, for leisure or competitions, typically involve the participant jumping off a cliff or high mountain with the aim of landing safely in a pre-designated, usually remote, location.
Julien Garcia, Sport Technical Advisor at FFVL, explains the fundamental need for satellite-enabled safety for these inherently risky sports, “Our members engage in free flying all over France, in the Alps and Pyrenees, and some elite flyers compete worldwide. The reality is that sometimes people go missing and finding them can be extremely difficult. We have responsibility to advise our members on safety; but moreover, in the activities where we have management authority, we absolutely must ensure safety as much as we can.”
FFVL is a French government-recognised non-profit association which represents and manages six main free flight activities and associated disciplines: hang gliding, paragliding, snow kite and land kite, speed riding, kite flying and boomerang. FFVL organises, directs, and promotes the practice of free flight nationally and internationally.
FFVL now encourages all its 40,000 members to carry SPOT devices, and its members can benefit from service discounts through the summer. It has organisational, government-mandated responsibility for France’s officially sanctioned competitions and for the country’s competitors at international events, such as the Paragliding World Cup.
FFVL also oversees free flying training, having established EFVL, Ecole Française de Vol Libre (the French School of Free Flight) in the Pyrenees, and the EFVL charter, a set of safety and quality standards and rules by which it certifies free flight schools. Young pilots, many under 18 years old, train three times a week at EFVL. They are tasked with steering their aircraft through waypoints set by the trainer and coach and touching down in a pre-designated landing zone. “With the unpredictability of wind and weather, and constant uncertainty of GSM mobile reach, we need to provide the trainers and trainees with always-on tracking and safety,” says Garcia.
SPOT Gen4 is the newest member of Globalstar’s award-winning SPOT device family, enabled by Globalstar’s satellite fleet in low-Earth-Orbit. SPOT features easy-to-use buttons that can be flexibly configured to send pre-programmed messages, with options for transmission types.
With just one press of SPOT’s SOS button, an alert is instantly transmitted to SPOT’s 24/7 worldwide search and rescue service along with the user’s GPS location coordinates. Emergency communications and incident investigation protocols are immediately carried out, and local first responders are engaged to dispatch help to precisely where it’s needed. To date, SPOT devices are credited with over 7,800 rescues worldwide.
Some FFVL members had previously used live tracking systems which were GSM-based, and unable to reliably deliver coverage in the most remote, and dangerous, mountainous regions.
FFVL considered other satellite-based devices in the market, but only SPOT provided the combination of ubiquitous reach at an economical price.
“Many pilots were already using SPOT Gen4’s predecessor SPOT Gen3, and we knew how much peace of mind the devices provide,” says Garcia. “Considering its satellite-enabled reach, reliability and pricing that met FFVL’s needs as a non-profit, SPOT Gen4 was the clear choice for our organisation.”
“We are really excited about our new partnership with FFVL, and we’re thoroughly delighted that Globalstar and SPOT will help France’s free flyers to enjoy their sports more safely,” said Mark O’Connell, General Manager, Globalstar Europe.
About Fédération Française de Vol Libre (FFVL)
Founded in 1974, Fédération Française de Vol Libre (FFVL) (French Federation of Free Flight) is a government-recognised non-profit association which represents and manages by official ministerial delegation six main free flight (non-motorised airborne sports activities) and associated disciplines: hang gliding, paragliding, land kite (snow kite and land kite), speed riding, kite flying and boomerang. The FFVL is the sports’ intermediary with France’s Ministry of Youth and Sports. Today with over 40,000 licensees, it was initially founded to add structure and oversight to the rapidly growing popularity of hang-gliding. Its scope has since expanded with the addition of other free flight sports. The FFVL organises, directs and promotes the practice of free flight for its licensed practitioners. It supports, coordinates and oversees affiliated associations. Its responsibilities include organising competitions, and managing training by creating the “French School of Free Flight” (EFVL) and the EFVL charter by which it certifies free flight schools. FFVL creates and maintains take-off and landing sites, and it intervenes to preserve airspace. Key roles of EFVL are to improve safety, conduct research, work to harmonise activities at European level, and to raise free flight’s profile globally. federation.ffvl.fr
About Globalstar, Inc.
Globalstar is a leading provider of customizable Satellite IoT Solutions for customers around the world in industries such as oil and gas, transportation, emergency management, government, maritime and outdoor recreation. A pioneer of mobile satellite voice and data services, Globalstar solutions connect people to their devices and allow businesses to streamline operations providing safety and communication and enabling mobile assets to be monitored remotely via the Globalstar Satellite Network. The Company’s Commercial IoT product portfolio includes industry-acclaimed SmartOne asset tracking products, Commercial IoT satellite transmitters and the SPOT® product line for personal safety, messaging and emergency response, all supported on SPOT My Globalstar, a robust cloud-based enhanced mapping solution.
Note that all SPOT products described in this press release are the products of SPOT LLC, a subsidiary of Globalstar, which is not affiliated in any manner with Spot Image of Toulouse, France or Spot Image Corporation of Chantilly, Virginia. For more information, visit eu.globalstar.com.
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White Tiger Communications
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Globalstar Director of Marketing EMEA