The project defines the rights and responsibilities of the parties involved, criteria for determining the suitability of the flight zone, the code of conduct, procedures for assessing flight-readiness of the paraglider and its elements, federation’s duties and responsibilities, federation oversight, amounts of fees established for various procedures, as well as pilot requirements, certification, testing, ranking, recognition of their credentials, and more.
The temporary code will regulate paragliding flights until the relevant legislative act is passed.
Tea Tsulukiani, the Minister of Culture, Sports, and Youth, explains that the Paragliding Federation, which was involved in the development of these regulations, will become the organization responsible for conducting the tests:
“After the adoption of this rule, no private company or persons will be able to conduct flights if the pilot is not a certified professional who has passed the tests, and the rules also mandate the equipment be in working order.
This seems obvious, but before now, there was no binding legal obligation for the flight equipment to be in good working condition or for the operator to be competent. The federation will also establish a monitoring service. Oversight of the federation will be conducted by the aerial navigation department of the Ministry of Economy. After the federation determines sites suitable for flight, beyond which flight will be prohibited, the Ministry of Internal Affairs will take on the responsibility of providing support to the federation in enforcing these rules and preventing unauthorized flights in restricted areas.”
According to the Minister, the Paragliding Federation was given a month to establish the commission and various monitoring procedures.
On July 29, 2022, a Mi 8 helicopter of the border police crashed and exploded during a rescue operation in Gudauri. There were 4 crew members, 2 rescuers, and 2 medics on board the helicopter. All eight were killed. The helicopter was being operated by experienced pilot Zaza Loria. Dimitri Kaadze, Levan Chokheli, and Andro Kujoshvili were among the crew members. Emergency medical center doctors Ketevan Gulagashvili, and Giorgi Venetski, and rescuers Giorgi Margiani and Kakha Torchinava were also on board.
The helicopter was being used in a rescue operation to save two paragliders who crashed in Gudauri. The video taken by eyewitnesses shows the helicopter's tail screw getting damaged and completely disintegrating within a few seconds, after which the helicopter irrecoverably lost control and entered an uncontrollable spiral. The helicopter was completely burnt as a result of the explosion after the crash.
Following the tragedy, the Minister of Internal Affairs banned paragliding throughout Georgia.
A mechanical malfunction of the helicopter was named as a possible cause for the crash, which the Ministry of Internal Affairs denied, saying that the old tail screws on the Border Police helicopter were replaced with new ones in March 2022, based on and in full compliance with the international aviation safety rules.
The investigation into the violation of air transport operation rules was launched under Article 275 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, but the public is not made aware of the progress of the investigation.