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  We are in Serbia, in the Kopaonik mountain range, near Raska.

CIAM Flyer (3-2014) - The Oldest Remote Control Method Combined with Modern Technology

Gee Bee 1000 – the control line model with electric motor The availability of very affordable R/C k...

Parachuting, a sport for everyone - 1st French National “Parahandi” Championships

In line with the FAI vision statement, the French Parachute Federation is keen to make this statemen...

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....

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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....

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2014 FAI Active Members’ Presidents Meeting

2014 FAI Active Members’ Presidents Meeting

Coming from all around the world, 24 Executive Representatives from 21 FAI Member organisations met in the Swedish capital of Stockholm on Saturday 7 June for the 2014 FAI Active Members’ Presiden....

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FAI World Air Games 2015 to be Staged in Dubai

FAI World Air Games 2015 to be Staged in Dubai

The FAI announced today that the 2015 edition of the FAI World Air Games has been awarded to the United Arab Emirates and will be held in Dubai. This multi-discipline event will be organised by the Em....

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Passing of FAI Past President Clifton Von Kann

Passing of FAI Past President Clifton Von Kann

FAI President of Honour General Clifton Von Kann died peacefully on 15 January 2014 in Washington D.C., USA, at the age of 98. He held high positions in the US military and civilian aviation and pre....

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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 ....

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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....

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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....

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Maxim Sotnikov (RUS): Helicopter Pilot

Maxim Sotnikov (RUS): Helicopter Pilot

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Pál Tákats (HUN): Paragliding Aerobatics Champion

Pál Tákats (HUN): Paragliding Aerobatics Champion

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until 31 August 2014 21st FAI World Formation Skydiving Championships & Hurricane Factory Challenge Prostejov (Czech Rep.)
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29 August 2014 2014 Asturias F3F Open - Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight Gijon - Asturias (Spain)
29 August 2014 2014 F1E Nosko Memorial - Category F1 - Free Flight Martin (Slovakia)
29 August 2014 2014 Trofeo tre Pizzi Macerata (Italy)
30 August 2014 10th Trofeo Valle Isarco - Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight Varna (Italy)
30 August 2014 2014 Hohenstoffeln Pokal - Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight Binningen (Switzerland)
30 August 2014 2014 Kietrz Cup - Category F1 - Free Flight Kietrz (Poland)
30 August 2014 2014 Open Kazakhstan HG Championship Ushkonyr (Kazakhstan)
30 August 2014 2014 Copa Sopó Open - 5th round of the Colombian Championship Cundinamarca (Colombia)
30 August 2014 2014 Sabah Paragliding Accuracy Ranau (Malaysia)
31 August 2014 4th FAI European Paragliding Accuracy Championship Vrsac (Serbia)
31 August 2014 2nd FAI Junior World Hot Air Balloon Championship Vichy (France)
31 August 2014 2014 Raciborz Cup - Category F1 - Free Flight Raçibórz (Poland)
31 August 2014 2014 F3K Herentals Open - Category F3 - Radio Controlled Flight Herentals (Belgium)
31 August 2014 2014 FAI Qualifying Sailplane GP La Cerdenya (Spain)
01 September 2014 2014 French Open Gap (France)
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Latest FAI World Record Claims

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)
20 August 2014 Parachuting : Freefall Style : 36.72 sec Elena Laktionova (RUS)
18 August 2014 Parachuting : Longest sequence 4-way (working time 120 sec) : 22 formations
18 August 2014 Parachuting : Longest sequence 4-way (working time 120 sec) : 14 formations
13 August 2014 Aeromodelling and Spacemodelling : Race Time in Competition (100 laps): 136 : 3 min 0.6 sec Sergey Dozhidaev (RUS)
12 August 2014 Microlights and paramotors : Precision Circuit in the Shortest Time ("Japanese Slalom") : 38.1 sec Kamil Mankowski (POL)
12 August 2014 Microlights and paramotors : Precision Circuit in the Shortest Time ("Japanese Slalom") : 64.9 sec Kirill Ekimov (RUS)
12 August 2014 Microlights and paramotors : Precision Circuit in the Shortest Time ("Japanese Slalom") : 70.4 sec Ryszard Zygadło (POL)
11 August 2014 Microlights and paramotors : Precision Circuit in the Shortest Time ("Japanese Slalom") : 41.2 sec Frederic Mallard (FRA)
11 August 2014 Microlights and paramotors : Precision Circuit in the Shortest Time ("Japanese Slalom") : 60.0 sec Coralie Mateos (FRA)
10 August 2014 Parachuting : Largest head-up formation : 4 parachutists
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10th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett - Bruxelles (BEL) 1921

Start: Bruxelles (Solbosch), September 21st 1921        

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

All Belgium celebrated the victory of Ernest Demuyter a year before. This small nation, badly struck by the past war, had gotten a hero, had to host the competition for the first time and considered themselves to be close to the final possession of the cup. Three times in a series a nation must win, up to then, nobody had managed this. But now, with a young but already experienced pilot, a new, much lighter balloon, the launch in the home-country, victory number two seemed to be quite close.

The Belgians had used the time since the last race. Demuyter had considered a lighter balloon to be necessary, so he would get one. 90 kilograms were saved by the constructors, and some pilots still today know the two balloonmeisters Felix van den Bemden and Schaut, who constructed and took care of new BELGICA.

Let's remember: Already in 1910 and 1911 lighter balloons, used by the French, had been admired. The Gordon Bennett Races forced the further development of the ballooning material, quite similar to car manufacturers today, who gather experiences in famous races. Progress achieved by racing experience is much more welcome than progress achieved by war. Here we see the beginning of competitive sport, first by improvement of the equipment, later also the demands to the sportsman himself will play an important role. Some setbacks in service of the new equipment often create quiet joy among the fighters for the claim, that all of this is much too expensive and useless, but it does not change the fact itself.

Under these told circumstances rank 11 achieved by Demuyter was a giant disappointment. First when reasons for the bad result came out, the moods calmed down. What had happened? – Let's report Demuyter by himself:

Report of Demuyter

A victory had become impossible under these conditions. It shows the sportive attitude of Demuyters, that he gives not up the race in the moment, recognizing this, but flies on for 22 1/2 hours, to land near Brideport on the south-coast of England.

But let's wait a little longer for the results. Still one day before launch it looked like the flight would go east, to Russia. But there the situation was chaotic. After uprisings by workers and seamen in the beginning of the year, now the country is drought ridden and plagued with epidemics. In the west, some people already speak of a quick end of the Soviet government. Nobody wants to have the balloons to fly there. For the first time, a boundary, not allowed to cross, was ordered to the competitors: 25 degrees longitude east, behind this line no results would be taken. So the fixing of competition boundaries for political reasons is not an invention of our time, it had already been there in the old days. This prohibition was not necessary, the wind turned to the east and the balloons launched from 4 p.m. on.

The balloons were driven to the west. From Bruxelles, more north than Paris in 1913, it was much easier to go for England. Nobody landed in front of the water, all crossed it and all managed to do so. The final first begins at the west coast of the British island, when the decision to fly across the Irish Sea or not had to be made. The flight to victory of the Swiss balloon shows some similarities to the flight in 1908, beginning with the fact, that Switzerland participated first in 1908, in 1921 after an eight years break.

I left the report of the co-pilot of the winning Swiss balloon in the style of the old days for good reasons: It shows the former attitude of the people towards topics like "fight", "victory for your home nation" and the worth of the own life.

Gordon Bennett Race 1921

Here we print the report of pilot captain Ansermier, who won the 1921 flight from Bruxelles for Switzerland together with captain Armbruster under very difficult conditions:

"We arrived at Bruxelles on September 15th 1921, where we had sent our balloon some days before. To our big surprise, we had detected, that the gondola, trail-rope and several instruments were missing. We searched, sent telegrams, travelled here and there, all in vain. Much later we learned, that some sports loving French customs officers had let pass the envelope and net with no problems, but had simply kept back the basket with its content, being also transit good from Switzerland to Belgium.

We hired a basket and a trail-rope, but we didn't manage to close the rip out-panel, being glued, opened, glued again and again for seven years now. So we have to face the risk, to meet an accident at the landing due to an abnormal operation of the panel.

The president of the Belgian aero-club, Mister Jacobs, as well as the winner of the Gordon Bennett Race of 1920 in America, Lieutenant Demuyter, supported and helped us on all of our steps in a very kindly way. Also helpful proved the officers of the Belgian air service.

In the hangar, we checked the balloon, fixed holes, repaired the net and so we were prepared for inflation of the balloon on the Solbosch field close to the forest of Cambré on Saturday, September 17th. All 14 balloons were laid out in a hawk staggered agreement and inflated simultaneously to supply the same quality of gas to every competitor. Every balloon had its own inflation tube. Saturday afternoon inflation started, but interrupted at 6 p.m. to supply enough gas pressure to the housewives in their kitchen. At 9 p.m. inflation was restarted. We stay the night, supervising the inflation, even knowing that we will have to face one or two more sleepless nights in the narrow basket.

In the early morning, while captain Armbruster changed guard with me, I used the time to admire the wonderful new material of our competitors. We Swiss fight against the odds, our material is old, we fly on our own costs and have to pay for the gas by ourselves, while our competitors are supported by their government, own new balloons, missing nothing for a long flight. One compares: Envelope and net are new, the baskets have walls from cork, a construction of rattan serves as seat and storage. Bags contain a whole library of maps and atlas, oxygen tanks on the floor, also hammocks allowing rest for the pilot and his second man. Further on ropes, survival belts, blankets a.s.o. I do not even want to talk about the supply in food and drinking. But also compass, altimeter, barograph, thermometer, electric lamps, mouthpieces, oxygen masks, a sail of linen to be used as a trail rope over the sea.

Depressed I return to the basket of our old ZURICH who unfortunately doesn't possess all this luxury. I don't talk about my impressions with my comrade Armbruster, but seeing our flag flying, my want for victory grows.

Sunday, September 18th, the inflated balloons rocked proudly in the wind, almost too proudly, for the Italian balloon TRIONFALE IX wants to escape. Several inflation crews had to be called to get hold of it.

Balloon BELGICA of Lieutenant Demuyter, winner in the race 1920, rocks around in the heavy wind, which suddenly rose and tears its net. From time to time it scrapes its neighbour ZURICH, like to stroke it. We kept ZURICH close to the ground, so it moved only a little and mocked against the storm like an old oak.

We are ready for along time. The official asks us, to launch out of sequence before the others, because they were late. We accept and level out quickly. Just in this moment, our representative, Mister Bally and the Chancellor of the Swiss diplomatic corps, Mister Federer, addresses a short speech to us and hands over a wonderful bunch of flowers with ribbons in the national colours of Switzerland and Belgium. I expressed my warmest thanks and receive a telegram from the president of the Swiss aero-club, Colonel Messner, remembering us in firm words, that Swiss men had never surrendered without fight.

A friend, Major Sorg, an officer of the Swiss army balloons and an excellent aeronaut, who had participated in past Gordon Bennett Races and was living in Arras, had decided to help and encourage us. Our dear comrade commands the last preparations and gives the traditional order: "Everybody let go!"

Slowly, well levelled, our balloon rises. The band plays a national anthem, but to me it doesn't seem to be ours. A wind from the east pushes us severely to the forest nearby an we fly just over the tree tops. It's exactly 4.57 p.m. We salute to the crowd, wave the bunch of flowers from the Swiss delegation, have a last view to Bruxelles, fix the instruments, what we could not do before, and fly in the direction of the North Sea: East Southeast/West Northwest.

We fly via Alost, Gent, Bruges, and at 7.21 p.m. we reach the Belgian coast at Oostende with a speed of 12 meters per second, i.e. 48 kilometres an hour. Now night had come, numerous ships travel in the Channel, French and Belgian beams search for us. Against the rules, we carry no light, no other balloon is in sight. Within one hour and 34 minutes we had crossed the Channel and approach Ramsgate, the first English village, which we cross in an altitude of 880 meters. The sky is clear, we fly up the river Thames, reach London-Wollwich at 10.25 p.m., cross this giant city in its full length, always in an altitude of 880 meters. Thousands of lights delight us, we are astonished by the busy night in this town of 7 million inhabitants, we can clearly identify the pedestrians on the street intersections, the tramways, bridges, the famous Hyde-Park. This view is marvellous and we can enjoy it for more than one hour.

At 1.06 a.m. we are above Oxford, at 3.50 a.m. above Cheltenham. Even having not slept the night before while supervising the inflation of our balloon, I feel no need for sleep being on the guard. My comrade Armbruster sleeps well on his bag of ballast in a corner of the basket. The lower layers carry us about 10 degrees more north than the higher ones. We cross Hereford, the night appears longer and longer to me, but the temperatures around +5° C are tolerable. Often I let the beam of my electric lucifer -lamp fall on the instruments on board, because I feel a change. We approach the mountain area ahead of the gulf of Cardigan, are in an altitude of 1000 meters, from time to time we are heavily shaken, but I don't wait, stop the falling and dump some bags of ballast. Almost an eternity had passed until daybreak. Finally the horizon brightens, the villages awake and in the distance I can guess the sea. I discuss with my comrade Armbruster. I do not want to risk flying out to the Irish Sea without his agreement. We agree and soon decide, to cross the sea and Ireland and to land on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the last boundary of Europe.

At 7.30 a.m. we fly over New Quay and are now above the Irish Sea, after we had covered 450 kilometres in the night before. The aeronaut thinks, but the wind guides. We thought we could reach the Irish coast within less than 4 hours - and stood for more than 18 hours above the sea.

When leaving land at New Quay we climbed to 1600 meters, the pressure on the barometer shows 682, thick fog is dominating, we are in a sea of clouds and can't see the sea anymore. Captain Armbruster makes some surveys. At 9 a.m. still fog, also at 11 a.m. At noon we are at an altitude of 2050 meters; the fog disappears, we can see the sea. A steamer is heading for Dublin; he thinks we are in danger, calls us with his horn and crosses over to our track. So we have no radio we cannot tell him our plans and thank him. 1 p.m.: We see a balloon above the sea, about 80 degrees east of our position, but even with our telescopes we cannot recognize its nationality for his flag is very small, compared to ours. Later we learned, that it was an American, flown by the pilots Hoffmann and Mac Kibben. The balloon makes an unequal face (every balloon has its face), it is pear-shaped and very close to the water. We watch him for long, consider him to be lost, but cannot help him, but quite a number of steamers are around here.

In vain I looked for other competitors on the horizon, I had to conclude from this, that we were alone in this area.

For a long time the American balloon stood in sight, climbed a little, fell again; we know, this is the end and hope for some better wind for our comrades as well as for us, pushing us towards the coast, for we were sure to beat him, because at this moment our balloon was in an excellent condition. But, the same as we, it is not driven towards the coast. We are stuck about 15 kilometres ahead of the coast. Our competitor is lost out of sight. Soon after he falls, is recovered by a steamer and brought to Liverpool. So he had no more ballast, he fell quick to the sea. Second pilot Mac Kibben was hurt on his head by the load ring and thrown into the water. The balloon, now relieved, shot up, then the pilot pulled the emergency rope and also fell to the sea. The pilots were fished up, balloon, gondola and instruments sank immediately. Both comrades of the air had fought till the end, they deserve utmost respect.

We fly along the coast without seeing it. The wind, which had turned, has nearly no speed at all and drives us slowly to the north. Since four hours we had to be over Ireland.

At 3 p.m. the air suddenly changed. We fall to the sea, the water splashes over our heads, the ballast gets wet and becomes a sticky mass; we swallow salt water, dump more than 100 kilograms of sand, climb and fall again. Another dump of ballast, now we climb up to 3600 meters. But also up here there is no favourable wind to be found. At 3.55 p.m. we fall back to the sea again; we have no more ballast, but then climb again.

At 6 p.m. we are in an altitude of 700 meters; we can see the coast of Ireland through the fog. Sometimes it appears to me, that we are coming closer, but the wind turns again; we throw overboard the ballast bags, being empty but of some weight due to the moisture. They are followed by the bottles of St. Emilion and Apollinaris. At 7 p.m. the night comes slowly. For a long time the ships have disappeared. Who knows, our last hour has probably come, but we are not touched by this, for we had considered it already before the take-off. But still the will was vivid in us, to gain victory for our country.

Since our first fall to the sea, the big compass for land and sea use is out of service. It is full of salt water and sand. We don't agree any longer in the determination of the heading, I use my own little compass and have already marked the place, where we will sink. Captain Armbruster still hopes to reach the Irish coast, but I am sure for two hours now, to see the end.

The wind pushes us back to the open sea, heading NE, towards Scotland, 180 - 200 kilometres away. We had slipped into our life jackets. I am not very confident about them, even if we suppose, that they will keep some hours, the night is long, there are not ships in this area, we have not seen a single one for three hours in bright daylight.

8 p.m. The night is around us. The eyes get used to the darkness, the batteries of our lamps are worn out, only an electro-mechanical jupiter lamp throws some beams to the barometer, showing a worrying high pressure reading and a horrible low altitude. We see an island, raising dark out of the waves; slowly we are approaching; the wind pushes us to the north-easterly corner; I release the trail-rope.

The balloon comes closer to this island of luck; we open the valve for some times and descend slowly. Captain Armbruster pulls the rip panel, the balloon smoothly lays down on a bed of bushes and collapses like an exhausted animal. It is exactly 8.20 p.m.

Switzerland had won the Gordon Bennett Race for the second time!

Although we don't know about our classification, I feel the impression to be among the firsts and the other competitors are more south.

We retain our composure. Now we detect, that we had covered 756 kilometres as the crow flies, at a maximum altitude of 3600 meters and a flight-duration of 27 hours and 23 minutes.

Lambay Island (Ireland), on which we finally had landed, is situated 6 degrees west of Greenwich, on 53,30 degrees latitude, 8 kilometres from the Irish coast. The next village is called Rush.

The island belongs to a British noble man, Cecil Baring, but he had travelled to London with his wife the day before. His daughter, aged 17, welcomed us in the old castle from the 15th century in which no luxury was missing.

The next day the envelope was folded with the aid from some servants of our host; a sailing-ship brought us to Hoth near Dublin, where we put the balloon on the railroad. In Dublin we found some time to admire the beauty of this town and to stand the storm of photographers and journalists.

Captain Armbruster went to Bruxelles, where he had an outstanding welcome and celebration, while I had to return as quick as possible to the barracks at Bern at the end of my holidays.

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