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2015 FAI Annual Report Just Out!

The 2015 FAI Annual Report provides an overview of all our activities with plenty of pictures. More ...

Winners of the 2016 FAI Young Artists Contest Revealed

The FAI international jury selected the winning paintings of the 2016 FAI Young Artists Contest, a c...

The first Red Bull Air Race win for Dolderer – and Germany – in Spielberg!

Germany’s Matthias Dolderer beat the elements, the obstacles and 13 of the world’s best pilots to&...

Solar Impulse 2 crossed the Pacific Ocean !

After over 62 hours of flight, Swiss pioneer Bertrand Piccard landed safely at 08:44am CET (06:44 UT...

Solar Impulse 2 took off to continue world circumnavigation and breaking records!

Swiss pioneers and ambassadors for clean technology, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, left t...

2015 FAI Annual Report Just Out!

2015 FAI Annual Report Just Out!

The 2015 FAI Annual Report provides an overview of all our activities with plenty of pictures. More compact than the previous editions, it includes the competitions, records, awards, our sponsor Breit....

Read more...
Winners of the 2016 FAI Young Artists Contest Revealed

Winners of the 2016 FAI Young Artists Contest Revealed

The FAI international jury selected the winning paintings of the 2016 FAI Young Artists Contest, a competition which every year honours the best paintings from youngsters in three age categories from ....

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FAI at the Red Bull Air Race

FAI at the Red Bull Air Race

FAI President Dr. John Grubbström was in Abu Dhabi at the Red Bull Air Race on Saturday 12 March 2016 – and met up with the General Manager of the Red Bull Air Race Erich Wolf.

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Bidding Process for the Next FAI World Air Games Open

Bidding Process for the Next FAI World Air Games Open

The FAI World Air Games is the biggest air sports event in the world. This multi-disciplinary event is the only world competition that brings together the various different air sports and their very b....

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Launch of the New FAI World Air Games Website

Launch of the New FAI World Air Games Website

The FAI has unveiled www.worldairgames.aero, the brand new website for its flagship event, the FAI World Air Games. It is meant to gather in one place all the information and news about the latest and....

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Olympic ski jumper swaps skis for helicopter skids

Olympic ski jumper swaps skis for helicopter skids

Helicopter pilot Thomas Morgenstern has finished in bronze medal position in the FAI World Air Games Parallel Slalom and Fender competition here in Dubai. The final to decide the gold and silver medal....

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Seven steps to success: an acrobatic paragliding masterclass with FAI ....

Seven steps to success: an acrobatic paragliding masterclass with FAI ....

French paraglider Tim Alongi, 24, is the new FAI World Air Games Paragliding Aerobatics Champion. Alongi also won the silver medal in the Sychronised Paragliding Aerobatics competition, along with hi....

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British air sports legend helicopters in

British air sports legend helicopters in

Even among the large crowds at the FAI World Air Games, it's hard to miss Quentin Smith. The flamboyant British helicopter pilot wears a Union Jack jacket, and has been flying, he says, since the age ....

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Gege is here to win

Gege is here to win

You'd be forgiven for thinking 15-year-old Janejira Chuynoey is here to support a family member in the paramotoring competition. At just 53kg, the petite Thai girl looks like she can barely lift the ....

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Nicole Schmidt sorts the men from the boys

Nicole Schmidt sorts the men from the boys

Nicole Schmidt from Germany, has been flying paragliders for 11 years. For the last six she's been performing aerobatic tricks, or "acro". It's a discipline very few women attempt, and this year Schmi....

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1st Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett - Paris (FRA) 1906

Start: Paris, Jardin des Tuleries, September 30th, 4 p.m.         

In Paris, public interest for the first Gordon-Bennett-Race was great. About 250.000 spectators may have been on the launch-field. Also among the aeronauts of the different countries, this new competition caught a lot of interest. Seven different nations entered balloons and with tension everybody waited for the launch of this new-developed competition. The only aeronauts in those days were balloon-pilots. Exactly 2 1/2 week before this launch, a Danish inventor named Jakob Ellehammer performed the first European fixed-wing-motor-flight, but with his home-made construction he covered only 42 meters at an altitude of 3 to 4 meters.

The order for take-off was defined by article 12 of the rules, by a drawing. At first the Italian balloon ELFE took off, the others followed in the drawn series within a period of a few minutes between them. Number 12 was the American Frank P. Lahm.

The most applause was gathered by Santos Dumont, flying for the USA. This eccentric and elegant pioneer of aviation had developed 14 aircraft in the years before, mostly one person mini-airships. . At this race, he flew with a 6 h.p. motor in the basket of the DEUX AMERIQUES. The flight ended painful for him. After covering 134 km, his jacket was caught in the propeller and his arm was hurt. He landed at Evreaux, and his balloon escaped, when he went out looking for a doctor in the night. This was the first and the last effort ever, to try to win this race by a motor-driven balloon. (The injuries may not have been too severe, for 1 1/2 month later, on November 12th, Alberto Santos-Dumont managed to make some good flights in Brazil with his self-developed biplane. (For his best performance he flew 70 meters in 21 seconds.)

Let’s go back to the race: The wind came from southeast and drove the balloons to the channel, urging the pilots to make the decision to land, or to risk the dangerous jump across the water in the hope, to reach the English coast. 16 balloons have launched, 7 left the continent and landed safe in England.

The first Gordon-Bennett-winners became the Americans Lt. Frank P.Lahm with his co-pilot Major Hersey in the balloon UNITED STATES, a coal-gas balloon of 2080 cu m. They landed after 22 hours and 15 minutes in Fyling-Dales, Yorkshire-county in north-England, directly in front of the North-Sea-coast. The balloon, that took off first, ELFE (1850 cu m), with Alfred Vonwiller and Lt. Ettore Cianetti came in second with only 54 kilometres back and a landing close to the town named Hull.

Among the others, Mr. Charles Rolls ("Rolls Royce") created excitement. He got lost. After he landed south of Hull in the night, he found no open telegraph-office, to sent his landing-report, and in his hurry, to travel back to London, he and his co-pilot totally forgot to report. Something else happened already in those times: A very angry English farmer sent a telegram to the FAI, complaining that the trace of a trail-rope of an unidentifiable balloon had spoiled his meadow. But in general, comments from the citizens were positive: The Lord of Flyingdale, on which properties the winner landed, commented: "An earthquake will not raise more attention than a landing of a balloon".

Let’s now have a look to the winner of this first competition: Frank P. Lahm, Lieutenant in the signal-corps of the US-army, born November 17th 1877 in Mansfield (Ohio). Lahm joined Westpoint military academy in June 1897, and was promoted Lieutenant of cavalry in the year 1901. He took part in the Philippine-war for two years and became teacher at Westpoint in 1903. From there, for further education he was commanded to attend the riding-school of Saumur (France) and later ordered to develop an air-force for the United States. Until the Gordon-Bennett-Race 1906 he had only done 14 flights in a balloon.

After his victory he was interviewed by the reporters of the New-York-Herald, and here is the report, that was printed in this paper on October 3rd 1906:

(this is the place, where the original interview Lahm/New York Herald should be shown)

Notes from the log-book of the UNITED STATES:

4:55p.m.

Depart

11:17 p.m.

Reached the sea near Caen

2:35 a.m.

Flashlight in the north

3:10 a.m.

Lights of the English coast in sight

3:30 a.m.

Reached the coast at the Isle of Wright

10:30 a.m.

Over flown Nottingham

3:10 p.m.

Landing one mile from the sea at Flying-Dales (Yorkshire) near Whitby, strong wind at the landing.

In the United States there was much cheering about this victory, especially among the members of the American aero club. But now the representatives of this club had to face big problems: they had to host the next race. Their organization was quite young, and only two pilots in the whole country held the required international licences and had some experience. (Santos Dumont had flown for the USA, but he was a Brazilian citizen). How could this end up well?

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2016 FAI Young Artists Contest

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This year's theme is "Air Sports in Harmony with Nature". Give free rein to your imagination – you might earn one of the Gold, Silver or Bronze Medals!

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Clean sport

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Find out more about the FAI Anti-Doping Programme.

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Browse the list of the FAI Awards recipients.

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