Login

Guests from the Sports World and Beyond Flock to FAI Summer Party

FAI recently hosted a Summer Party to make new connections and strengthen existing bonds with other ...

Eimers and Zenge Steal Gold at the 58th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett

The suspense was kept right up to the very end of the 58th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett, as t...

Spanish FAI Sailplane Grand Prix, Contest Preview

In the beautiful setting of the Valley of Cerdanya in Catalonia The Aeroclub of Sabadell is host to ...

Ivanoff wins Texas, Bonhomme new championship leader

Frenchman Nicolas Ivanoff had a flawless run in the Final Four on a hot and humid Texas afternoon an...

FAI recognition for Air14 Director’s “outstanding work”

The FAI presented Air14 Airshow Director Col. GS Ian Logan with the FAI Diplôme d’Honneur during the...

FAI Head Office closed on Monday 22 September 2014

FAI Head Office closed on Monday 22 September 2014

The FAI Head Office will be closed on Monday 22 September 2014 for a public holiday. The office will reopen on Tuesday 23 September.

Read more...
Guests from the Sports World and Beyond Flock to FAI Summer ....

Guests from the Sports World and Beyond Flock to FAI Summer ....

FAI recently hosted a Summer Party to make new connections and strengthen existing bonds with other sports federations based in Lausanne, personalities from the sports world and beyond, as well as com....

Read more...
FAI recognition for Air14 Director’s “outstanding work....

FAI recognition for Air14 Director’s “outstanding work....

The FAI presented Air14 Airshow Director Col. GS Ian Logan with the FAI Diplôme d’Honneur during the “Inspiration Dinner” organised by the airshow committee in Payerne, Switzerland, on Saturday....

Read more...
Get the Bug for Air Sports with the new FAI Video

Get the Bug for Air Sports with the new FAI Video

The FAI has released a new video featuring all air sports activities under the umbrella of the Federation. The 3-minute film succinctly presents the FAI sports and includes footage of FAI internationa....

Read more...
FAI President and Secretary General meet IOC President to di....

FAI President and Secretary General meet IOC President to di....

FAI President Dr. John Grubbström and FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel were recently invited to meet International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach (pictured in middle) at the IOC headqu....

Read more...
More news
Interview with Pierre Duval, President of the FAI Environmental Commis....

Interview with Pierre Duval, President of the FAI Environmental Commis....

Frenchman Pierre Duval, 50, is the new President of the FAI Environmental Commission (EnvC) since his election by the Delegates during the last annual meeting of the Commission in February 2013. He ....

Read more...
Tony Iberler, youngest pilot ever to participate in a world helicopter....

Tony Iberler, youngest pilot ever to participate in a world helicopter....

Tony Iberler qualified as an Helicopter Pilot in Germany on his 17th birthday, one year before he can legally drive a car. In 2012, still aged 17, he was selected as a member of the German National T....

Read more...
Interview with John Dickenson, recipient of the FAI Gold Air Medal

Interview with John Dickenson, recipient of the FAI Gold Air Medal

At the 2012 FAI Awards Ceremony held yesterday in Antalya, Turkey, John Dickenson was presented with the FAI Gold Air Medal by FAI President John Grubbström for his great contribution to the developm....

Read more...
Maxim Sotnikov (RUS): Helicopter Pilot

Maxim Sotnikov (RUS): Helicopter Pilot

Although Maxim Sotnikov learned to fly helicopters only 6 years ago, he is already one of the world’s best pilots and will be one to watch at the 14th FAI World Helicopter Championship that will t....

Read more...
Pál Tákats (HUN): Paragliding Aerobatics Champion

Pál Tákats (HUN): Paragliding Aerobatics Champion

At 16 years old, Pál knew that paragliding was going to be more than just the next new hobby sport for him. Dedicating his time to flying from the day he left school, he and his young and talented Hu....

Read more...
More Personality

Current Events

until 29 September 2014 2014 Baikonur Cup - Category S - Space Models Baikonur (Kazakhstan)
until 28 September 2014 38th CISM World Military Parachuting Championship Solo (Indonesia)

Upcoming Events

25 September 2014 2014 Greda Cup XC Open Hrvace (Croatia)
25 September 2014 2014 PWCA Superfinal Pamukkale / Denizli (Turkey)
25 September 2014 2014 Soca Open Valley Camp Gabrje (Slovenia)
26 September 2014 2014 Korkyt-Ata Cup - Category S - Space Models Baikonur (Kazakhstan)
26 September 2014 2014 St. Petersburg Cup - Category F2 - Control Line Circular Flight Gatchina (Russia)
26 September 2014 39th Oktoberfestpokal Wettbewerb - Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight Salmdorf near Munich (Germany)
26 September 2014 3rd series PGAWC 2014 Timbis Open Denpasar (Indonesia)
26 September 2014 2014 Suru Orao Open - 2.round Montenegro ACC League Berane (Montenegro)
27 September 2014 2014 Stonehenge Cup - Category F1 - Free Flight Andover (United Kingdom)
27 September 2014 2014 Latvia F2 cup "Golden Fall" - Category F2 - Control Line Circular Flight Kiev (Ukraine)
27 September 2014 2014 Prilep cup - trophy of Prilep - Category F1 - Free Flight Prilep (Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia)
27 September 2014 2014 Prilep cup - trophy of Prilep - Category F1 - Free Flight Prilep (Former Yugoslav Rep. of Macedonia)
27 September 2014 2014 Arva Janos Memorial Contest - Category F1 - Free Flight Salonta (Romania)
27 September 2014 2014 Tatry World Cup - Category S - Space Models Nowi Targ (Poland)
27 September 2014 2014 Trofeu Artur Sereno - Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight Mendoes (Portugal)
More events

 

Latest FAI World Record Claims

31 August 2014 Powered Aeroplanes : Speed over a recognised course : 755 km/h Jeremy A Schneider (USA)
31 August 2014 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Speed: 196 : 446.96 km/h Olivier Zanker (GER)
31 August 2014 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Duration: 199 : 2h 58 min 17 sec Timo Wendtland (GER)
30 August 2014 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Speed: 196 : 430.26 km/h Christian Erdt (GER)
28 August 2014 Parachuting : Speed : 511.23 km/h Marco Wiederkehr (SUI)
28 August 2014 Parachuting : Speed : 511.23 km/h Marco Wiederkehr (SUI)
28 August 2014 Parachuting : Speed : 461.40 km/h Stephanie Hipp (GER)
28 August 2014 Parachuting : Speed : 461.40 km/h Stephanie Hipp (GER)
27 August 2014 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Speed in a closed circuit in competition (10 laps): 090 : 52.93 sec Ondrej Hacker (CZE)
26 August 2014 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Speed in a closed circuit in competition (10 laps): 090 : 54.25 sec Ondrej Hacker (CZE)
23 August 2014 Parachuting : Largest head-up formation : 6 parachutists
23 August 2014 Parachuting : Largest head-up formation : 6 parachutists
20 August 2014 Parachuting : Freefall Style : 31.80 sec Libor Jirousek (CZE)
20 August 2014 Parachuting : Freefall Style : 31.80 sec Libor Jirousek (CZE)
20 August 2014 Parachuting : Freefall Style : 36.72 sec Elena Laktionova (RUS)
More records

7th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett - Stuttgart (GER) 1912

Start: Stuttgart, Canstatter Wasen, October 27th 4 p.m.  

From the Book: Die Gordon Bennett Ballon Rennen
(The Gordon Bennett Races) by Ulrich Hohmann Sr

The victory of Hans Gericke in 1911 had secured the survival of the Gordon Bennett Race, the cup had not gone to the final possession of an aero club. If the Americans would have conquered the cup, nobody would have sponsored a new one, due to the low interest of European countries in flights on other continents, as it was shown in 1910 and 1911. Of course, a prognosis like this cannot be proved afterwards, but the possibility of this one is great.

So Hans Gericke had brought back the race to Germany. He could not see the start anymore. Just seven days before launch he had fallen to death with the balloon REICHSFLUGVEREIN I near Riesa in Saxony. The "Deutsche Luftschiffer-Verband", as the national aero club was called in these days, declared Stuttgart to be the town of the launch. Reason for this was the central position of this town in Europe, the distance to the seas, but also the capacity of the gas factory, for a record breaking number of competitors was again expected. This number was nearly met, 23 entries were received, for the first time even one from the Czardom of Russia. But in the last minute some entries, also the Russian one, were withdrawn. The fee of 400 Marks was lost for the no-shows.

Reason for this may have been the political circumstances. War ruled on the Balkans. A military alliance of Russia, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece was chasing out the Turks. And besides this, efforts also went against the Austrian/Hungarian Empire. In Albania civil war raged between Christians and Muslims.

The preparations for the launch of the Gordon Bennett Race instead were done with Swabian thoroughness. Among the officials we find names, still known today by balloonists and in Swabia: Alfred Dierlamm, Hermann Euting, Oberleutnant Henke, Albert Hirth, First Major of Town Lautenschläger, factory owner Berthold Fein. Besides the Gordon Bennett Race there was also the annual national championship on October 24th and the congress of the German aeronauts on October 28th on the program. Also, it had to be full moon, to make orientation easier for the long distance pilots.

On the Cannstatter Wasen, the field for the horse races, 320 meters long, 260 m wide was separated by wooden walls. The stands for the spectators were added by economic stalls, press-office, competition centre and buildings for mail and material. On the south western side, towards the river Neckar, the gas tubes were laid. The gas works of Gaisburg pumped the special light lifting-gas (0,39 kg/cu m) with exhausters of 95 hp each underneath the Neckar, where it could be taken from 24 valves at the opposite side of the river.

The central station of the meteorological office in Stuttgart got weather telegrams from all over the world, they were transmitted at once to the launch field and handed to the competitors. Also a book store had erected a shop for maps on the launch field, to allow everybody to compete his material. The balloon factory Riedinger from Augsburg ran a stock for spare parts on the field. The sand for the ballast was riddled extra fine and dried on the fire, to protect it against freezing in higher altitudes, even hay to upholster the baskets was prepared.

For the safety, passports with a special visa for France, Russia and Turkey were given to each pilot. (All foreign authorities were instructed, to give their special protection to the holder of these passports). For the physical well being the champagne producer Kessler & Cie. from Esslingen had prepared a picnic basket for every balloon, containing among others a bottle of "Kessler extra cuvee". The company "Dr. Theinhardts Nährmittelgesellschaft" from Cannstadt added a test can of "Hygiama", a kind of iron rations for surviving after landing in remote areas.

20 race balloons, each of a capacity of 2200 cu m were ready. When inflating the American balloon KANSAS-CITY, an accident happened, being crumbly like tinder, it burst. The crew got DÜSSELDORF II for rent, so they did not have to do the long journey for nothing, but flew out of the competition.

The group of contestants included besides proven old fellows (Bienaime was there for the fourth, Leblanc for the fifth time) also newcomers, becoming quite famous in future. Georges Blanchet from France was new, he competed in totally eight races. Legendary Ferdinand Eimermacher, here he appears for the first time, competed "only" four times, due to political post-war reasons. The Belgian Ernest Demuyter entered the stage as the youngest competitor ever in a Gordon Bennett Race, he was just nineteen, he had done his first balloon flight at the age of fifteen. Two years later he passed his pilots examination and soon went for his first solo flight in a balloon of only 300 cubic meters, which ended after one hour at Eindhoven in the Netherlands with a hard landing at 80 km/h. His big time in the Gordon Bennett Races lay still ahead of him, he flew in totally 18 races. In 1912, he wrote his name "de Muyter", with the French title of nobility. After 1918 we find only the printing Demuyter.

Swabian king Wilhelm II. and his queen, the heads of the court, military and the town were present, when at exactly 4 p.m. and best weather conditions PICARDIE opened the race under the sounds of the Marseillaise. HONEY-MOON followed with "God save the king". At last, only DÜSSELDORF II and the full moon stood above the Wasen.

Night broke in, when the balloons disappeared in the direction of Backnang and the crews accommodated themselves for long and lonely hours in their baskets upholstered with hay, made their entries to the log book and had a first check of the picnic basket donated by the champagne company Kessler.

From the race itself, at first young Ernest Demuyter shall report:

(Here the translation of the chapter of Demuyters book should be printed)

What happened to the other competitors? – All balloons had to try to find a pretty fast layer and, by saving as much ballast as possible, stand the cold night. At morning, the balloons were, without seeing each other, in the area of Dresden and Magdeburg, heading ENE, speed 30 km/h, at worsening weather. First landings were reported. The area became more and more monotonous. Snowfall started. Bienaime later said, that he reached a speed of 110 km/h in a snowstorm over Warzaw.

Some balloons escaped this weather by flying to other altitudes. Sigmundt from Austria, Piccoli and Usuelli from Italy drifted more south like Demuyter, Usuelli received an extra cup of honour from the "Niederrheinischer Verein für Luftschiffahrt" for his 1182 km in 34:18 h and the ninth rank.

Bienaime had launched first in Stuttgart on Sunday afternoon with PICARDIE, he landed, still in the snow storm, after 45 h and 55 min. as the last near Rjäsan south of Moscow. The distance, he had covered, was 2191 kilometres, the longest distance ever achieved in a Gordon Bennett Race. His fellow-citizen Leblanc landed one hour earlier with ILE DE FRANCE, also in the area of Moscow. His 2001 kilometres put him to second..

Both Frenchmen were welcomed with honour in Moscow. They did not know, that their fellow John Watts, flying out of competition in DÜSSELDORF II for 36 hours, meanwhile was being searched for with urgency. He was lost. First after some diplomatic efforts it was achieved, to get him released from Russian custody after four days as "British spy". Also Harry E. Honeywell, Captain of the American army and placed third in the race, saw a Russian jail from the inside. When leaving Russia, he was stopped at the border by an order of the chief of the police department, brought back to the landing place and put to prison there. First an ukase from the czar gave him back his freedom.

Let's remember the statement, Hans Gericke made a year before about the quality of the balloon material. He considered the French balloon as the best, that means the lightest. Since these years, we watch, that Gordon Bennett Races are not only won by the perseverance of the pilot, the races also make an important contribution to the development of the balloon itself. This will become still more visible in the future races but should not reduce the performance of the pilots at all. As well as in car-, ski- and bobsled races in the past and today also at Gordon Bennett, the pilot and the material are basic for the success. The lightest balloon, the best technical equipment do not guarantee the victory, if pilot and his companion don't have enough constitution and skill. Again and again we will see Gordon Bennett Races, in which crews, using normal, heavy balloons as used for all days passenger flights in the clubs will win against new balloons, only constructed for the race.

The two races, launched from Germany, had been something special. This sounds chauvinistic, but is not. The fact, that they are still today much better remembered as many others, has to be credited to the Swiss (1908) for the second longest in duration and to the French (1912) for the longest in distance.

Impression form the Canstatter Wasen

Gordon Bennett Race 1912

It happened on Thursday. Milky clouds rushed along the sky, joined together, became darker and darker and formed black tangles. 10, 15 balloons already had flown off with the helping hands of the soldiers and waved through the air, gaining higher and higher. Then a wurttembergian balloon was carried by. All the friends of the crew gathered around the basket, to give a last farewell to the departing aeronauts. Close to the basket stood an older man in a black civil dress and watched with interest the last handling of the launch masters. The balloon mounted - "Good luck, Good luck, happy landing!" The aeronauts cheered and waved their hats, only the pilot took a bag of ballast with his right hand and emptied it. Totally concentrated, it took some time, until he recognized, that the man in the civil dress lifted his hat, and his passengers saluted and stood still. And the lady on board with the white orange hat gracefully waved the shimmering giant wheel for a cheerful greeting from the air above. With lightening speed the pilot now rose his left hand to his cap, spreading ballast with his right, saluting with his left hand, he stood still, full of joy and respect, until the balloon was out of sight – for the man in the civil dress was his king.

On Sunday at about 3 p.m.: A big noise and a tearing sound – an American balloon burst right in the middle. So proud it had been, so fearless pulling on the ropes, almost full and ready, to fly the sea of air for a lot of miles, now a poor scrap of cloth with a big wound lay on the ground. The pilots had come across the ocean, men, having got rid of every gram of unnecessary fat by year long exercises, men, personifying joy of sports, ambition in their eyes and in every vain, driven only by one thought: the cup must be back to America, even for the price of life. The balloon had lost his life, but with the balloon, the hope for fight and victory was gone. The heroes, prepared to face death with courage, got overwhelmed with shivering and shock. Tears filled their eyes, broken they stepped aside. They did not look back to the wreck, to the place where the balloon, robbed of its power lay. Without emotions they listened to the condole sing words of their comrades. – But suddenly, new life entered these beaten down figures, a word was spread of a German spare balloon. And right, the Germans, full of chivalrously helpfulness put the balloon DÜSSELDORF II, which they could not fly by themselves at their disposal. A wonderful victory of international friendship in sports! Now the eyes of the Americans were gleaming bright again, new energy came to the face of the Yankees, the muscles swelled again: Let's go to the race in a German balloon!

On the launch field on Sunday. Another American balloon is carried by. In the basket a small, black-haired man with eye glasses makes his last preparations next to his companion, vividly gesticulating, without calm, noisy and excited. Let's call him Mr. Miller. "Missis Miller, Missis Miller, just a moment please!" His wife approached the basket with their little son on her hand. "Over there, Mister X, he wants to have photos of the last balloon meeting, don't let me forget it, to mail him some". The balloon is weighed, photos are taken, ready for take-off. – Attention, hands off! In the very last moment a spectator hands over his card to the lively man. "Stop, Missis Miller, take this card, or I will forget or loose it - good-bye, good-bye – Attention, let go!" The balloon lifts, the restless man shouts "Hurray, Hurray, Württemberg!" with a voice like thunder, joyful echoed from below. But soon the balloon sinks down, two bags of sand are dumped quickly and under the mocking laughter of the soldiers: "He'd shout to much" the balloon jumps up to the element of air.

A balloon from France approaches the launch platform. Look at these two young, fresh characters in the basket! Passing the protective circle of the soldiers is a lady in a black satin coat, guided by a tall man, deeply veiled, a black miniature poodle on her left arm, not caring for the leash hanging to the dust. Her eyes are red from weeping, and from time to time a heart breaking sobbing shakes her body. Why is this beautiful lady weeping so pitiful? Now the balloon rises, on the edge of the basket a tall young man is sitting. Joyful he lifts his cap, all his eyes for the lady. And some little melancholy hushes across his face, on which joy for sports and altitudes is gleaming. In a mixture of youthful enthusiasm for air sports and a tender sympathy with the one who stays back full of sorrows for him, his lips send a quick kiss to the lady. She stands still with whimpering heart, and while a shaking sobbing makes this sensitive body tremble, the lace handkerchief in her white satin glove waves all the sorrows and love to the friend vanishing in the airspace. Au revoir, au revoir! Then with a fatherly gesture the guide of the lady takes her arm and leads her out of the circle, far away the balloon disappears in the distance and another giant ball enters the launch platform.

How the language changes with the times! I discovered these impressions in a newspaper from these days. For good reasons I did not "translate" the impressions of the author to the much more sober language of today. A lot of the air of former thinking and feeling would be lost.

Articles In This Category
Category Articles

2014 FAI Young Artists Contest

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

Read more...

Clean sport

843566_85292309-microscope
Find out more about the FAI Anti-Doping Programme.

Read more...

FAI Awards

awards
Browse the list of the FAI Awards recipients.

Read more...

events calendar

Gallery

Interesting Record

world air_games

frontpage_logos

IOC Recognised

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