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On this day in history: 110 years of the world’s most prestigious balloon race

One hundred and ten years ago on 30 September 1906 US aviator Lieutenant Frank Purdy Lahm won the fi...

Paragliding included into the Asian Games 2018!

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Hello IWGA The World Games: Meet the pilots

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FAI announces DHL as new Official Logistics Partner

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On This Day in History: Otto Lilienthal’s legacy lives on

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A legend in Space: Meeting Gennady Padalka

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FAI to develop innovative IT solutions for Air Sport Discipl....

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A life in aerobatics: Mikhail Mamistov

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From learning to fly in 1983 in the then Soviet Union, Mikhail Mamistov has become one of the most decorated pilots in the history of Aerobatics competition. We meet the legend…

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11 August 1986: The FAI World Record of John Trevor Egginton

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11 August 1986: A modified factory demonstration Westland Lynx AH.1 Helicopter piloted by Chief Test Pilot John Trevor Egginton set an FAI Absolute Record for Speed for helicopters over a straight 15 ....

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Profile of a world champion: Ferenc Toth

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Ferenc Toth has been at the top of his game since the turn of the century. The FAI Glider Aerobatics World Champion won his first major competition in 2000, aged 32. That was the FAI European Aerobati....

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It’s a family affair: Jerzy and Jan Makula

It’s a family affair: Jerzy and Jan Makula

“I have four sons, Jan is the youngest. But you know, when he was very little he was afraid of flying, he would not even touch the glider.” Jerzy Makula is a legend in glider aerobatics, often cal....

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Fedor Konyukhov Solo Around-The-World in a Balloon –  Official World....

Fedor Konyukhov Solo Around-The-World in a Balloon – Official World....

The FAI received the following records claims from the Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov, 64, who completed his circumnavigation on Saturday 23 July 2016 by landing near Bonnie Rock (AUS) in a Rozier....

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Current Events

FAI F3A Asian-Oceanic Championship for Aerobatic Model Aircraft

Event ID

: 9889    

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: Continental Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F3A (Aerobatic Power Model Aircraft) - seniors
F3A (Aerobatic Power Model Aircraft) - juniors

Place

: Taichung (Chinese Taipei)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 08 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.f3a2016taiwan.com


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="9889" ]

Paragliding World Cup

Event ID

: 10797    

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: ST Leu - La Réunion (France)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 08 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.pwca.org/node/24494


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="10797" ]

Carpatian Cup - Golden Autumn - World Cup - Category F2 - Control Line Circular Flight

Event ID

: 10897    

Event classification

: Open International - World Cup Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F2D (Combat Model Aircraft)

Place

: Mizhhirya (Ukraine)

Date(s)

: 30 Sep to 03 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.ikar-f2d.in.ua


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="10897" ]

Beograd Kup - Category S - Space Models

Event ID

: 10952    

Event classification

: Open International - World Cup Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

S3A (Parachute Duration Models - 0 to 2.5 NS)
S4A (Boost Glider Duration Models 0 to 2.5 NS)
S6A (Streamer Duration Models - 0 to 2.5 NS)
S7 (Scale)
S8E/P (Rocket Glider Duration and Precision Landing Models)
S9A (Gyrocopter Duration Models - 0 to 2.5 NS)

Place

: Aradac - Zrenjanin (Serbia)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Alternate dates

: 08 Oct to 09 Oct 2016


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="10952" ]

Kotuku Cup of New Zealand - Category F1 - Free Flight

Event ID

: 11120    

Event classification

: Open International - World Cup Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F1A (Gliders)
F1B (Model Aircraft with Extensible Motors Wakefield)
F1C (Power Model Aircraft)
F1Q (Electric Power Model Aircraft)
F1P (Power Model Aircraft)

Place

: Lost Hills, California (USA)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Alternate dates

: 04 Oct 2016


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11120" ]

Open Internacional World Cup Ciudad de Valladolid - Category F2 - Control Line Circular Flight

Event ID

: 11126    

Event classification

: Open International - World Cup Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F2A (Speed Model Aircraft)
F2B (Aerobatic Model Aircraft)
F2C (Team Racing Model Aircraft)
F2D (Combat Model Aircraft)

Place

: Valladolid (Spain)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.facebook.com/aerovall/´fref=ts


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11126" ]

Indianapolis - Red Bull Air Race World Championship

Event ID

: 11157    

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Air Racing

Place

: Indianapolis (USA)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.redbullairrace.com/en_INT/tour-stops


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11157" ]

"Nis Open", 1.round Serbian ACC league

Event ID

: 11184    

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Paragliding Accuracy

Place

: Niska Banja (Serbia)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Alternate dates

: 08 Oct to 09 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.acc2016.vss.rs


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11184" ]

FPV Bulgaria Cup -

Event ID

: 11496    

Event classification

: Open International - World Cup Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F3U (RC Multi-Rotor FPV Racing)

Place

: Plovdiv (Bulgaria)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Website

:http://www.pamcup.com


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11496" ]

French National Canopy Piloting Championship -

Event ID

: 11503    

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Canopy Piloting

Place

: Saint Denis de l'Hotel, Orléans (France)

Date(s)

: 30 Sep to 02 Oct 2016

Website

:http://parachutisme-orleans.net/


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11503" ]

Kazakhstan PAragliding Accuracy Championship -

Event ID

: 11537    

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Paragliding Accuracy

Place

: ekpendi, Taldykorgan, Almaty Region (Kazakhstan)

Date(s)

: 01 Oct to 02 Oct 2016

Alternate dates

: 08 Oct to 09 Oct 2016

Website

:http://wings.kz


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11537" ]

Upcoming Events

02 October 2016 2016 FAI F3 World Championship for Model Gliders Hanstholm (Denmark)
02 October 2016 2016 Sierra Cup - Category F1 - Free Flight Lost Hills, California (USA)
02 October 2016 2016 Niksic Cup - Category F1 - Free Flight Prilep (Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia)
07 October 2016 38th Ljubijana Cup - Category S - Space Models Ljubljana (Slovenia)
07 October 2016 38th Ljubljana Cup - Category S - Space Models Ljubljana (Slovenia)
07 October 2016 2016 Romanian Paragliding Accuracy League CUP. Tusnad PG.Ed: XI Baile Tusnad (Romania)
08 October 2016 2016 Anatolian Free Flight Cup - Category F1 - Free Flight Gölbasi / Ankara (Turkey)
08 October 2016 10th Trofeo Citta di Capannori 2016 - Category F1 - Free Flight Padule di Bientina (Italy)
08 October 2016 2016 Cap La Rioja La Rioja (Argentina)
09 October 2016 2016 Memorijalni kup “Slavko Scekic” – Berane Open - Berane (Montenegro)
11 October 2016 2nd FAI World Cup of Indoor Skydiving Warsaw (Poland)
14 October 2016 2016 Bulgaria Cup F1E - Category F1 - Free Flight Polski Trambesh region (Bulgaria)
14 October 2016 4th Korea Open League Round - Mungyeong (Korea)
14 October 2016 2016 Paragliding Trip of Indonesia (TROI) 4th Series - Megasari, East Java (Indonesia)
14 October 2016 2016 Belarusian Open Accuracy Championship«Polesskiy Desant - Zyabrovka (Belarus)
More events

 

Latest FAI World Record Claims

28 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Time to climb to a height of 3 000 m : 6 min 36 sec Paul A Salmon (USA)
28 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Greatest mass carried to height of 2 000 m : 100.00 kg Paul A Salmon (USA)
28 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Time to climb to a height of 3 000 m : 9 min 43 sec Paul A Salmon (USA)
28 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Altitude with 200 kg payload : 4,115 m Paul A Salmon (USA)
28 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Altitude with 100 kg payload : 4,295 m Paul A Salmon (USA)
28 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Greatest mass carried to height of 2 000 m : 258.00 kg Paul A Salmon (USA)
27 September 2016 Rotorcraft : Altitude with 100 kg payload : 4'580.00 m Paul A Salmon (USA)
23 September 2016 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Duration (ceiling 15m - 30m): 117-c : 22 min 41 sec Akihiro Danjo (JPN)
20 September 2016 Powered Aeroplanes : Speed over a recognised course : 435.00 km/h Travis P. Holland (USA)
19 September 2016 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Duration: 192 : 12 h 46 min 29 sec Andre Mellin (USA)
19 September 2016 Powered Aeroplanes : Speed over a recognised course : 730.00 km/h Jonathan N. Headley (USA)
17 September 2016 Parachuting : Lowest Score after 5 rounds : 36.00 sec Olga Lepezina (RUS)
17 September 2016 Parachuting : Lowest Score after 5 rounds : 36.00 sec Olga Lepezina (RUS)
17 September 2016 Parachuting : Lowest Single Round Score : 7,07 sec Olga Lepezina (RUS)
16 September 2016 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Speed: 203 : 288,538 km/h Robert Sixt (GER)
More records

36th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett - Stuttgart (GER) 1992 - Article by David Levin

Start: Stuttgart, Cannstatter Wasen, September 19th 1992   

Article: DOUBLE VICTORY
"THERE ARE TWO OCCASIONS WHEN I LOVE TO HEAR THE NATIONAL ANTHEM. FIRST IS UPON RECEIVING A FIRST PLACE TROPHY, AND SECOND IS DURING AN OTHERWISE SILENT ASCENT INTO THE NIGHT FOR A GORDON BENNETT ADVENTURE."
Article by David Levin
as Published in 1992 BFA Ballooning Magazine
From Collection Don Piccard

2631 36th Gordon Bennett - Germany

 D—Aspen prepares to launch from Stuttgart, Germany in the 36th annual Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett. The balloon would carry David Levin to a double victory:  winner of the 1992 Coupe Aeronautique Gordon Bennett; and World Gas Balloon Champion in the event flown two weeks later in Obertraun, Austria. 

Stuttgart, Germany

My first Gordon Bennett was with Frank Rider in 1985. We were launched into the night from Geneva for a low level flight down the Rhone river valley to finish fourth. Although the flight was short in both distance and duration for all competitors, it was exciting enough for Frank and me, two very inexperienced gas pilots.

My second Gordon Bennett was again with Frank (my balloon mentor) in 1986 out of Salzburg. Another night time launch to the sound of the Star Spangled Banner covered us with goose bumps as we stared into the darkness looking for power lines and mountains. Political boundaries and slow winds kept this Gordon Bennett flight short in distance and only about 18 hours in duration. Our lack of experience in flying this type of task (distance within a boundary) kept us in third place, but we were learning fast.

Third try at the Gordon Bennett was in 1988 with Jim Schiller. Jim had far more gas experience than Frank or I and I was ready to learn about long distance alpine flying. Our midnight launch from Bregenz, Austria was the most spectacular of all. The flight carried us over the Austrian Alps with a full moon and clear skies, to another third place finish.

Frank and I came back together for a flight from Lech, Austria in 1990. Unfortunately, the weather was not in our favor. The race was launched in less than ideal conditions. Frank moaned about his demise as he was dragged into the basket for a short flight into Italy and a three day retrieve. We were proud to land first and finish last rather than fly into scattered thunderstorms as most competitors had done. Our major accomplishment was to get a photograph of Mike Wallace flying into the top of a cumulo-nimbus (Ballooning, Winter 1990—91, cover).

1992

Driving from Salzburg to Stuttgart for a fifth try at the Gordon Bennett brought back memories of my four previous starts in the famous competition. One by one I analyzed them to come up with a strategy for this year’s event. I was determined to go the distance and make a two-day flight, something I had not yet done.

The team

My co-pilot was Jim Herschend of Ozark, Missouri. He had taken my Red Dog Balloon competition course in Baton Rouge and after hearing a few stories, had been bitten by the gas bug. He was ready for adventure. Our combined weight of 290 pounds would help us take enough ballast to make it through the second night with plenty to spare to climb above the snow-laden clouds on the all important second day. Jim and I arrived in Stuttgart along with our Austrian crew of Jeff Schendli and Gerald Sturzlinger. We were met there by Roif Goldschmidt of Basel, who was our balloonmeister.
Our balloon was D-ASPEN, a Worner balloon with a light-weight net and basket, both specially made for long distance flights.The balloon belonged to Randy Woods of Aspen, Colorado, who lent it to us for the flight. The event began as usual, with registration and a short, simple reception. The information received from Competition Director Markus Haggeney was voluminous, and included information for landing in any country in Europe, with all telephone numbers, ATC procedures and flight limitations in controlled airspace; and weather forecasts covering wind patterns over the next four days at altitudes up to 18,000 feet.

The highlight of the reception was the appointing of observers to teams. After our names were drawn third to last for launch, our spirits were raised when we saw that our observer was not the usual middle-aged somber Austrian male, but a young, energetic,attractive German woman who spoke perfect English and was ready for fun, as we all were. Petra Oberzig fit right in with our wild and crazy crew.

Planning the flight

Saturday morning’s briefing brought news of excellent flight conditions to come. Once the rain stopped, we were to begin inflation and prepare for a 6:00 p.m. launch. The winds were predicted to take us anywhere from due north at low levels to southeast at upper levels, towards Yugoslavia. After reviewing the various wind forecasts and maps, it was clear that our goal was northeast Poland. We were not permitted to fly in any part of the former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia, Rumania and Albania. The winds would turn right with height and there was no significant weather to avoid.

Premonition

As we left the briefing just before noon, the butterflies in my stomach started fluttering, but not as much as usual. This was it, a green light for a night launch in the big one, the Gordon Bennett, but I was more relaxed than usual. The weather looked great for a slow two or three day flight to Poland with no major mountain ranges to cross and no threat of adverse weather conditions. These were the conditions I had been looking for for years.

Getting ready

We checked out of our hotel, picked up a few last minute munchies and headed for the launch field. The rain had stopped, the ceiling was lifting and breaking up and the inflations were going smoothly. Rolf Goldschmidt expertly prepared D-ASPEN for the launch, and everything was looking good for a long flight. After a late lunch, it was time for final preparations of the balloon and basket. The basket is my job, and it’s mind-boggling how much stuff gets carried aloft when you’re taking only the essentials. In addition to radios, transponder, ELT, GPS, etc., we also had to stock up on cold weather gear, food for up to three days, maps, charts, batteries, etc., etc., etc. Six p.m. approached and the balloons at the top of the launch order went through final preparations. A last minute checklist, turn on the barograph and flying lights, shake hands and kiss the crew good-bye. Then the best part—a slow climb into the night with the sound of your National Anthem fading as you gain altitude. Soon there is only the faint city noise and the occasional chatter with ATC Stuttgart.

First night

We made a slow climb to 8,000 ft, which was the altitude we needed to catch a wind heading east. Two hours after our launch, we found ourselves headed out of the Stuttgart area in a heading of 070º, pretty close to our optimum direction of 060º. The night went smoothly. We stayed between eight and ten thousand feet for the best speed and direction. We also wanted to limit our altitude to conserve ballast and not get too cold. The temperature wasn’t far below freezing, but when you’re sitting still for hours, it feels colder and colder. Down suits and warming packs were in order. There was only one major problem the first night. We had difficulty picking up a strong signal with our Global Positioning System (GPS) and had to play with the antenna to get a signal. Our second GPS did the same. Subsequent talks with other pilots indicated the system just wasn’t working properly that night.

First day

Early morning found us just south of Nuremberg and a beautiful sunrise over eastern Bavaria. We didn’t have to use too much ballast during the night to maintain altitude and things were still looking good for a two-day flight. We crossed the border into Czechoslovakia around midday after climbing to pick up speed. At this point our strategy was revised. At altitudes that took us east northeast, we couldn’t get enough speed to make a boundary after two days. At higher altitudes, we headed due east and with more speed. Our goal was now to get as much speed as possible without going southeast as this would cause a shorter potential due to the border with Romania. We spent the day around 13,000 feet. After making a late afternoon descent south of Tabor, we reorganized and prepared for a second night in the balloon, a first for both of us.

Night two

Our crew was almost constantly in radio contact, and at Tabor, they had time to make a few calls to get weather updates. We were advised that the lower levels would slow down and turn left so we kept the balloon high during the night to take advantage of stronger winds.

And morning again

Morning brought us into Poland and clouds. We needed the sun to warm us up and take us to higher faster winds, but the clouds were too thick, and it started to snow. After lengthy discussions, we decided we would spend our ballast to get above the clouds rather than save it for a possible third night. We climbed to 17,000 ft and picked up the speed we needed to reach the border with Ukraine before sunset. Once speed was not a problem, we came down a few thousand feet to get a slight turn to the left. This kept us north of the mountains and took us to better landing areas.

It also gave us more potential distance, as the border went northeast. The day went smoothly as did the entire flight.

Approach

We began our descent for final landing from 15,000 at 4:30 in the afternoon. This gave us thirty minutes to get down at 500 fpm, and one hour to be found before sunset. We needed to get down fast because the lower winds were backing up and we didn’t want to lose any distance. Our crew was in position to watch our descent, but the surface winds were brisk and we had to land and deflate before they could find us.

Landing

I told them to go toward the hill with the fire, whereupon they told me every hill had a fire on it, as the Poles burn their weeds. After two hours, they finally reached us with the help of the local police. Two hours later we were on the road to Przemysl to look for a hotel and a hot meal. We found a hotel, but no hot meal. All we were really interested in was a bed. We weren’t thinking about winning at this point. All we knew was that we had just made a truly fantastic flight lasting almost 46 hours and hopefully we would finish in the top three.

Results

The next day we took care of the details, an official stamp from the local police and a measurement for the landing spot. Next we took our balloon mail to the post office and Petra called back to headquarters. We noticed she was having trouble speaking and turning red. I started to get chills as she told me the news. All the balloons had landed, and it looked like we had gone the farthest, but nothing was official.

We celebrated with a hot meal, and even some Romanian champagne to wash it down. It wasn’t until two days later that we called back again, and this time it was official. We celebrated all over again, but this time, we called everyone we knew to share the incredible news. We had won the Gordon Bennett, and our names would be in the history books.
Winning the Gordon Bennett is a double treat. Not only do you get the prestige of winning a major event, you get to share it with your countrymen by hosting the event the following year. I hope many BFA members will get to see this incredible event next year.

Very special thanks to co—pilot James Hersehend, Balloonmeister Rolf Goldschmidt, Balloon owner Randy Woods, Crew Jeff Schendi and Gerald Sturzlinger and Observer Petra Oberzig.

 2631 36th Gordon Bennett - Germany 2

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