Omdat er nogal tumult was rond de vlucht van Lode, vroegen we hem om uitleg. Hieronder zijn antwoord (geschreven in het Engels):
“Dear Members of the board,
First of all please accept my kind personal apologies for the extra work and stress I probably have caused you by being France during our still ongoing lockdown during the corona lockdown.
I know first-hand the challenges of being a board member, and I know things like this don’t add to the joy of the job, only to the nerves and annoyance. Sorry for that to each of you.
Since flying was again allowed in Belgium, I have tried to enjoy the freedom as much as we got it, while always exactly respecting the rules as they were in place. I stayed local, when we had to. Wearing a mask on the take-off, when it was requested. I did not put a foot on the holy grounds of Beauraing as the site was in danger. I was once in La Roche, but stayed away as soon as the “local club pilots only” restriction was in place.
I flew cross country when it was officially allowed, but stayed within Belgium as our borders were still closed. Also on days where clearly there was 100 or 200K potential, we decided to attempt a triangle as a training. All with respect for all the local rules, to not bring any damage to our flying community or our sport in general.
Since the 8th of June, the Belgian government has removed the negative travel advice for all Belgian citizens, although France still kept its borders under strict regulations and entry criteria. By being in France, we obviously ignored the French no-entry rule to foreigners. Once in France, XC flying is allowed.
Our personal decision to pursue this adventure abroad, I believe, is not one that would bring damage to the Belgian paragliding community, or to any of its sites. It was a personal decision, and I think a matter between me and the French authorities.
Of course I fully understand the frustration it brings to people, and the fact for some people this tastes a sour. There is not so much I can do about that now, I can only apologise for the decisions taken, and stress that it was never my intention to damage anyone or anyone’s interests, including my own, in Belgium, for the Belgian flying community or its flying sites.
None of this would alter any of my views that I will continue to fly strictly in line with all flying and other regulations we have in place in Belgium, today or in the future, or in any other country.
I do not expect any of you, in general anyone, or the federation to come to my defence or to explain why I would have done what I have done. It was a personal decision and I will have to deal with the fall out.
If there is anything I can do to help the federations deal with this matter, publish this text or any other, an excuse, on Facebook, or any other medium, let’s discuss, I am more than happy to do anything you think is necessary to put this matter to rest.
Most kind flying regards,