Login

Ferenc Toth wins Gold in Glider Aerobatics

Ferenc Toth (HUN) has won the Glider Aerobatics competition at The World Games following Saturday ni...

Wojciech Bogdal wins Gold in Paramotoring

Poland’s Wojciech Bogdal has won the Paramotoring competition at The World Games. After flying 9 tas...

Nick Batsch wins Gold in Canopy Piloting

Nick Batsch (USA) has won the Canopy Piloting competition at The World Games in Wroclaw, Poland.

Kirby Chambliss wins in Russia

The USA’s Kirby Chambliss is back – back-to-back, in fact. Just three weeks after winning his first ...

One year ago today: Russian Fedor Konyukhov completes around the world tour

Exactly one year ago, Russian adventurer Fedor Konyukhov broke the record for the fastest circumnavi...

The World Games 2017, 20-23 July - A triumph for air sports!

The World Games 2017, 20-23 July - A triumph for air sports!

Sixty-six international air sports athletes competed in three different air sports at the World Games in Poland from 20 ot 23 July 2017.

Read more...
Helmut Schlecht awarded FAI Bronze Medal at CISM Military Wo....

Helmut Schlecht awarded FAI Bronze Medal at CISM Military Wo....

Respected parachutist Helmut Schlecht was awarded the FAI Bronze Medal at the 41st CISM Military World Parachuting Championship in Bad Sassendorf, Germany in July.

Read more...
'Hackathon' engineers target new e-markers for balloon compe....

'Hackathon' engineers target new e-markers for balloon compe....

Hot air balloon competitions look set to be revolutionised if three science teams from the Ukraine get their way.

Read more...
Registration opens  for the 1st FAI International Drones Con....

Registration opens for the 1st FAI International Drones Con....

FAI has issued an invitation to attend the 1st FAI International Drones Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, from 1 - 3 September 2017 about Innovation, Safety and Sports.

Read more...
Drones: Opportunities and Challenges for Air Sports

Drones: Opportunities and Challenges for Air Sports

On 19 - 20 May 2017 the FAI Executive Board and the FAI Active Member in Germany, the Deutscher Aero Club (DAeC), met in Frankfurt. The main topic during the meetings: What does the fast development o....

Read more...
More news
Five years ago on this day: A Microlight and Paramotor World Record st....

Five years ago on this day: A Microlight and Paramotor World Record st....

Today, five years ago on 17 February 2012, Indian pilot Parmjit Singh, used a special harness, the Aeros Discus 14 with a Radne Motor AB Raket 120, to fly a record distance in a straight line without....

Read more...
Two years ago: Father and son set African Record

Two years ago: Father and son set African Record

Two years ago on this day, Tijl Schmelzer and his father Bert were the very first to pass the 200 km/h barrier using thermals rather than mountain waves.

Read more...
Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov awarded  FAI - Breitling Pilot of t....

Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov awarded FAI - Breitling Pilot of t....

A Russian priest who circumnavigated the world in a balloon in record time has been presented the inaugural FAI - Breitling Pilot of the Year Award at a ceremony in Switzerland yesterday, Thursday 17 ....

Read more...
 PILOT PROFILE: 60 seconds with hang gliding champion Christian Ciech

PILOT PROFILE: 60 seconds with hang gliding champion Christian Ciech

Christian Ciech is one of the most successful pilots in competition hang gliding, and was FAI European and World Champion at the same time in 2016. We spoke to him…

Read more...
NASA’s top man Charles Bolden is still aiming for the stars

NASA’s top man Charles Bolden is still aiming for the stars

Charles Bolden, who has been awarded the prestigious FAI Gold Space Medal for 2016, knows about space. Not only has he been in orbit four times, but for the last seven years he has been at the head of....

Read more...
More Personality

Current Events

FAI European Gliding Championships -

Event ID

: 9747    

Bid:

259

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: Continental Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Club Class
Standard Class
20 meter Multi-seat Class

Place

: Moravská Třebová (Czech Rep.)

Date(s)

: 20 Jul to 06 Aug 2017


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="9747" ]

FAI Junior World Gliding Championships -

Event ID

: 9751    

Bid:

284

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Club Class
Standard Class

Place

: Pociunai, Kaunas (Lithuania)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 13 Aug 2017

Website

:http://www.jwgc2017.lt


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="9751" ]

The World Games - The World Games

Event ID

: 9933    

Bid:

1631

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: The World Games

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Canopy Piloting

Place

: Wroclaw (Poland)

Date(s)

: 20 Jul to 30 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.theworldgames2017.com/


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="9933" ]

The World Games - The World Games

Event ID

: 9934    

Bid:

1631

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: The World Games

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Unlimited Aerobatics (Glider)

Place

: Wroclaw (Poland)

Date(s)

: 20 Jul to 30 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.wroclaw.pl/the-world-games-2017


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="9934" ]

The World Games - The World Games

Event ID

: 9935    

Bid:

1631

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: The World Games

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Paramotor classes

Place

: Wroclaw (Poland)

Date(s)

: 20 Jul to 30 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.theworldgames2017.com/


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="9935" ]

FAI F3 World Championships for Model Helicopters -

Event ID

: 10641    

Bid:

294

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F3C (Helicopters) - seniors
F3N (Helicopters Freestyle) - seniors
F3C (Helicopters) - juniors
F3N (Helicopters Freestyle) - juniors

Place

: Wloclawek (Poland)

Date(s)

: 22 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.rcheli-wchs2017.pl


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="10641" ]

FAI F1 Junior European Championships for Free Flight Model Aircraft -

Event ID

: 10646    

Bid:

264

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: Continental Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F1A (Gliders) - juniors
F1B (Model Aircraft with Extensible Motors Wakefield) - juniors
F1P (Power Model Aircraft) - juniors

Place

: Prilep (Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia)

Date(s)

: 25 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.eujchamp2017.prilepcup.info


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="10646" ]

FAI World Hang Gliding Class 2 Championship -

Event ID

: 11279    

Bid:

265

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

class 2 Cross country

Place

: Aspres sur Buech (France)

Date(s)

: 26 Jul to 06 Aug 2017

Website

:http://www.mondialdepul2017.com/en/


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11279" ]

FAI F3D World Championship for Pylon Racing Model Aircraft -

Event ID

: 11399    

Bid:

759

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F3D (Pylon Racers) - seniors
F3D (Pylon Racers) - juniors

Place

: Dala-Järna (Sweden)

Date(s)

: 25 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.wc-f3d2017.se


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11399" ]

FAI F3K World Championship for Model Gliders -

Event ID

: 11400    

Bid:

308

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

F3K (Hand Launch Gliders) - seniors
F3K (Hand Launch Gliders) - juniors

Place

: Lviv (Ukraine)

Date(s)

: 23 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://wch2017.f3k.in.ua


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11400" ]

Yangel Cup -

Event ID

: 11715    

Bid:

308

Event classification

: Open International - World Cup Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

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

: Dnipropetrovs'k (Ukraine)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 30 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.frms.ua


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11715" ]

International German Open -

Event ID

: 11912    

Bid:

266

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

class 1 Cross country
class 5 Cross country

Place

: Altes Lager (Germany)

Date(s)

: 22 Jul to 28 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.dcb.org/wettbewerbe/german-open-hg/


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11912" ]

FAI World Glider Aerobatic Championships -

Event ID

: 11931    

Bid:

294

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Unlimited Aerobatics (Glider)

Place

: Torun (Poland)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 05 Aug 2017


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11931" ]

FAI World Advanced Glider Aerobatic Championships -

Event ID

: 11932    

Bid:

294

Event classification

: First Category Event

Type of event

: World Championship

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Advanced Aerobatics (Glider)

Place

: Torun (Poland)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 05 Aug 2017


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11932" ]

Hungarian, Lithuanian & Slovenian Open -

Event ID

: 11945    

Bid:

301

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Zelezniki (Slovenia)

Date(s)

: 23 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.klub-krokar.si


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="11945" ]

Pré-European 2018 / Portuguese National Championship -

Event ID

: 12037    

Bid:

1662

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Montalegre (Portugal)

Date(s)

: 22 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://events.fpvl.pt/pre-euro2018


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12037" ]

Ali Dagi Cup XC Open -

Event ID

: 12069    

Bid:

307

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Kayseri (Turkey)

Date(s)

: 25 Jul to 30 Jul 2017


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12069" ]

Сup of Yutsa-MAI -

Event ID

: 12121    

Bid:

612

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Yutsa (Russia)

Date(s)

: 24 Jul to 04 Aug 2017

Website

:http://yutsa.ru


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12121" ]

Palz - Alsace - Open -

Event ID

: 12152    

Bid:

266

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Le Treh, Fellering (France)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 30 Jul 2017

Website

:http://airtribune.com/palz-alsace-open-2017


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12152" ]

Spanish Paragliding Open Ager -

Event ID

: 12161    

Bid:

669

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Ager (Spain)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 30 Jul 2017

Website

:http://www.parapentectnp.com/competiciones


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12161" ]

Junior Qualification Competition -

Event ID

: 12201    

Bid:

266

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Club Class
Standard Class

Place

: Stölln /Rhinow (Germany)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 03 Aug 2017

Website

:http://www.edor.org


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12201" ]

British Open UK -

Event ID

: 12221    

Bid:

309

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Malverns (United Kingdom)

Date(s)

: 23 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://pgcomps.org.uk


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12221" ]

Ozrenaline XC Doboj -

Event ID

: 12222    

Bid:

848

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Gostilj (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Date(s)

: 27 Jul to 30 Jul 2017


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12222" ]

Turkish Paragliding Accuracy League - Erzincan - Turkey -

Event ID

: 12234    

Bid:

307

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Paragliding Accuracy

Place

: Erzincan (Turkey)

Date(s)

: 26 Jul to 20 Aug 2017

Website

:http://www.thk.org.tr


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12234" ]

Canadian Paragliding Nationals -

Event ID

: 12241    

Bid:

251

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Pemberton (Canada)

Date(s)

: 23 Jul to 29 Jul 2017

Website

:http://s2spg.com/nationals


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12241" ]

Czech and FYR of Macedonia Open -

Event ID

: 12248    

Bid:

264

Event classification

: Second Category Event

Type of event

: Other

Disciplines / Task Styles

:

Cross Country

Place

: Krusevo (Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia)

Date(s)

: 23 Jul to 29 Jul 2017


Event Organiser


FAI Member of the Hosting Country

[flickr user=me tag="12248" ]

Upcoming Events

28 July 2017 19th Belarusian Open Helicopter Championship and World Cup stage 4 - Minsk (Belarus)
28 July 2017 2017 Klippeneck-Segelflug-Wettbewerb - Klippeneck (Germany)
28 July 2017 2017 Finnish OPen XC League Round 3 - Oripaa (Finland)
29 July 2017 23rd FAI World Precision Flying Championship - Spitzerberg (Austria)
29 July 2017 2017 Wild Man's Trophy - Lappeenranta (Finland)
29 July 2017 2017 Setubal Drone Race - Setubal (Portugal)
29 July 2017 2017 Slovenia Cup - Vipava (Slovenia)
29 July 2017 2017 F3A World Cup Böheimkirchen - Böheimkirchen (Austria)
29 July 2017 2017 CanAm Cup - Muskegon, Michigan (USA)
29 July 2017 2017 CanAm Cup - Muskegon, Michigan (USA)
29 July 2017 2017 EUROTOUR F5F Bad Kissingen - Bad Kissingen (Germany)
29 July 2017 10th Sonnenwendpokal - Nardt (Germany)
29 July 2017 2017 Campeonato Brasileiro de Parapente 2da Etapa - Brazilian Open 2nd round - Pico do Gaviao (Brazil)
29 July 2017 2017 Covdin Open, Serbian league - 2nd round - Petrovac (Serbia)
29 July 2017 2017 Petzen Open - St Michael / Bleiburg (Austria)
More events

 

Latest FAI World Record Claims

25 July 2017 Parachuting : 3 formations : 111 skydivers
23 July 2017 Parachuting : Max Distance : 175,77 m Cornelia Mihai (UAE)
22 July 2017 Parachuting : Max Distance : 133,08 m Mateo Pagani (RSA)
22 July 2017 Parachuting : Max Distance : 172,34 m Paul Ropdriguez (USA)
22 July 2017 Parachuting : Max Distance : 134,62 m Jeannine Bartholomew (USA)
22 July 2017 Parachuting : Max Distance : 137,94 m Paulo Marquès (BRA)
21 July 2017 Parachuting : Carved Speed 70m : 2,197 sec Cédric Veiga Rios (FRA)
21 July 2017 Parachuting : Carved Speed 70m : 2,289 sec Cornelia Mihai (UAE)
21 July 2017 Parachuting : Max Distance : 196,52 m Cédric Veiga Rios (FRA)
21 July 2017 Parachuting : Carved Speed 70m : 2,479 sec Jeannine Bartholomew (USA)
21 July 2017 Parachuting : Carved Speed 70m : 2,536 sec Paulo Marquès (BRA)
16 July 2017 Gliding : Speed over a triangular course of 1 000 km : 157,00 km/h Keith Essex (NZL)
14 July 2017 Gliding : Out-and-return distance : 1 149,6 km Gilles Navas (FRA)
14 July 2017 Gliding : Free out-and-return distance : 1 149,6 km Gilles Navas (FRA)
03 July 2017 Gliding : Speed over a triangular course of 750 km : 156,00 km/h Sibylle Andresen (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

Articles In This Category
Category Articles

2018 FAI Young Artists Contest

Y-TOROPOVA-2011art1-1big
This year's theme is "Flying in the future". Give free rein to your imagination – you might earn one of the Gold, Silver or Bronze Medals!

Read more...

111th FAI General Conference

logoGC2017 frontpage
The next Conference will take place from 25 to 27 October 2017 in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Read more...

FAI International Drones Conference and Expo

conf drones_ok
The event will take place from 1 to 3 September 2017 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Register now !

Read more...

Global partners

 

 

 

events calendar

Gallery

frontpage_logos

IOC Recognised

olympic_channel_logo

Did you know...?

3h 54m 59s = World Record manpowered aircraft

Did you know...?

Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth

Did you know...?

There are 150 pilots in Paragliding Worlds

Red Bull Air Race
The Game