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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....

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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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9th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett - Chicago (USA) 1920

THE NINTH GORDON BENNETT RACE 1920
The first victory of Ernest Demuyter

Start: Birmingham/Alabama/USA, October 23rd 1920         

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

A break for seven years now came to an end. Four years of World War I had changed a lot in aviation. The balloon had lost supremacy, planes and - much more important than today – airships went out of the war as horrible carrier of bombs but also proved their multiple usability. The balloons, in the war mostly used as survey platforms for attacks by artillery had been shot one by one out of the sky by enemy planes, only tethered balloons, to be used as barriers against planes, seemed to have some future. In Germany, almost 140 balloons had been registered when war began, first in 1921 two new balloons are put to service. Other sorrows were more important, flying balloons was considered to be easily spared. But in other nations as well a lot of discussions rose about flying balloons.

Should the race get a revived Gordon Bennett, the generous sponsor of this event had died on May 14th 1918, aged 77. Of course, his cup from 1906 was not yet finally won. No nation had managed it in the past eight races, to have the winning team three times in a row. This should happen in any case. Ballooning wasn't taken very serious anymore, except by insiders. What do these, almost antediluvian balls, want in the world of progress? Nostalgia was an unknown word in those days. Faster, longer, higher was the slogan. This was proved by the Olympic Games, finishing two month before in Antwerp. Nurmi won three gold- and one silver-medal (10000 m running in 32:45,8; 8000 m cross-country running in 27:15,0; team placing, and silver for 5000 m in 15:00,0), 2606 athletes fought in 154 competitions (at least nine competitions in shooting with military guns!) and then gas balloons fly for the longest distance? This was considered at least as out of date as the tug-of-war, being an Olympic discipline for the last time.

Austria and Germany, guilty for the first World War, were excluded from participation in international sporting events. The F.A.I. had banned both nations from its circle. First in 1927 this decision was withdrawn by the F.A.I., Austria went without participation in Gordon Bennett Races until the year 1931. However, this exclusion was considered to be unfair, but other sorrows were more pressing. The results, seen from today: There are only very few reports about the races of the early 20th in German newspapers. Therefore let's again tell the Belgian Ernest Demuyter, he began this year with a series of victories, bringing to him the reputation as the best pilot of the world for the next 18 years:

Report from E. Demuyter

So far the report from Ernest Demuyter. His first victory in a Gordon Bennett Coupe was of course celebrated with triumph in Belgium, but the rest of the world did not take much notice of this. Gordon Bennett, well, a reminiscence to the pre-war time, but over soon. The race 1920 was taken so unimportant, that the competitors ranking 8 to 11 can't be discovered in any list of results and the flown distances from rank 3 upwards were not measured or calculated but roughly estimated. Look back, dear reader, 1911 the results were exactly calculated down to ten meters, now rounded up or down to ten kilometres was sufficient. But the high regard of this race should soon change again, the air of a Gordon Bennett Race must not be underestimated.

Not only because the first victory of Ernest Demuyter the race 1920 owns a special place in history. Also, with this race, the internal American competition between the balloons of army and navy on one side and those of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company on the other side began. These institutions will use the races in the following years for testing the best and lightest material. Goodyear had created an extra research-department, dealing with the development of the new fabrics. By the way, a victory in a Gordon Bennett Race would have been a good public-relation for all the other products. Also the name of Ward T. van Orman shows up in the list of results for the first time. Aged 26 in 1920, this engineer of the Goodyear company will fly in totally 10 Gordon Bennett Races, finishing four of them as the winner.

Poor Harry E. Honeywell, sent to the race as favourite by the Americans, one has to feel sorry for him. 1912 he became third, 1913 and now 1920 it was "only" enough for the second place. But he had set up a new American record for duration (48:26 h). Demuyter had been much faster in the higher altitude. Flight-duration eight hours less, 16 hours earlier over Detroit, than Medori, Upson and Thompson, who landed there.

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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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FAI Awards

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Browse the list of the FAI Awards recipients.

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IOC Recognised

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3h 54m 59s = World Record manpowered aircraft

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