An early realization of the attractive possibility for meteorologists to learn more about the structure and behaviour of the atmosphere when using sailplanes, combined with the interest of aerodynamicists, aircraft- and instrument designers, constructors and pilots for improving sailplane performance and characteristics, lead in 1930 to the forming of the first international soaring organization ISTUS (Internationale Studienkommission für den motorlosen Flug).

Having as objective the furtherance of development of soaring in science and technics as well as in sports by "exchanging experience and friendly cooperation among the specialists and pilots of all nations engaged in soaring", this objective has been changed after World War II on occasion of forming OSTIV as the successor of ISTUS in July 1948 at Samedan/Switzerland. All the sporting objectives were separated from OSTIV and were integrated within the responsibility of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

The new constitution of OSTIV concentrated merely to the objectives "to encourage and coordinate internationally the science and technology of soaring and the development and use of the sailplane in pure and applied research". After years of discussion OSTIV finally found its place as an International Associate Member of FAI (Resolution of the FAI General Conference at Rome, 4 October 1977); each party having the right of representation - with voting right - in the General Conferences of the other party. Furthermore, OSTIV has the right to delegate observers to the meetings of the International Gliding Commission (IGC) and vice versa and to delegate observers to the Sailplane Development-, Meteorological- and Training and Safety Panel-Meetings of OSTIV.

A most important decision which FAI laid down in its rules was the acceptance of offers for world soaring championships only under the condition, that they assure simultaneously the organization of OSTIV-Congresses at the same time and place as the championships.