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Solar Impulse 2 lands in Phoenix!

Solar Impulse 2 (Si2) successfully completed the tenth leg of its record-breaking attempt to circle ...

Solar Impulse 2 about to cross the Continental Landmass of USA!

Swiss pilot and co-founder of the Solar Impulse-project, André Borschberg, departed at 14:03 CEST (1...

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FAI at the International Military Sports Council

FAI at the International Military Sports Council

FAI President Dr. John Grubbström and FAI Secretary General Susanne Schödel attended the 2016 CISM (International Military Sports Council) Annual Congress in Tartu, Estonia, to further develop the l....

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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

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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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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

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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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11th Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett - Geneva (SUI) 1922

Start: Geneva, Sunday, August 6th        

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

The two Swiss officers, Paul Armbruster and Louis Ansermier, had brought the race to this alpine country for the second time after 1909. As the winners in 1908, Schaeck and Messner, tried to succeed separately in the following race, but none of them managed to do so. Good teams should not be torn apart, there are only a few examples, where both took profit from this. Of course, the second man in the basket is in the shadow of the fame, so it is understandable, if he wants to show up in the list of the winners as pilot-in-command by himself.

Favourites of course were the Belgian Ernest Demuyter and the American R. E. Honeywell. Demuyter had kept his second man in the basket from 1921, when he had to bury his hopes for victory because of the soldier who involuntarily travelled with him. We will meet Veenstra several times later. Honeywell would have earned the victory, it should have been his turn. He takes part for the fifth time, in both 1913 and 1920 he reached second place. Now he had chosen Wade as co-pilot, who had reached rank 2 with Lahm in 1911. Bienaime, winner of 1912, and Labrousse, co-pilot of Demuyter at his first victory, also were considered as candidates for the first places by the experts.

For the Swiss competitors the president of the aero-club had the idea for a special incentive. For the best fellow citizen he offered the brand new balloon "Thuna" of 900 cubic meters as prize, but only if he would rank among the first five.

The town of the League of Nations did everything, to deal with the race in the best organising manner. The list of the officials contained totally 228 names. Never before a race was hold so early in the year, probably they wanted to spare the cold nights in September or October from the participants. Doing this, one had to accept that thunderstorms could endanger the balloons. In mid-summer these weather conditions are met more often than in fall. From August 1st on the competitors were in town, from then on the count down was running. 50.000 cu m of gas was necessary for the inflation of the 19 balloons, now everybody hoped for success. Weather was quite good in the beginning, so many spectators came to the launch field, but not the same amount as in Zurich in 1909.

Low ground winds allowed inflation of the balloons without any problems, at altitude it blew quicker, promising long distances. But before launch, the situation got worse. Those who took off first flew quite well, the latter ones had to fight with thunder and snowstorms. Several balloons were forced back to earth quite soon after launch. So the still excluded Germans and Austrians could see landing balloons on their territory. For six balloons, the flight ended in Austria, five came back to earth in Germany, of course none of them had any influence to the results on the first ranks.

But the Germans had other problems in those days. Their inflation meanwhile had grown to an avalanche. At the beginning of August, the change for one dollar was 860 marks, at the end of the month it was noted already with 1990 marks.

Back to the race: Demuyter used his proved tactics. Go at once to a high altitude, where the fastest wind is. His average speed was 53,3 km/h. Only in one race till then, the winner was even faster: Hans Gericke flying from Kansas City in 1911. In 1912, from Stuttgart, snowstorms are reported, but the average speed of the winner was "only" 47,9 km/h. Although the speed is not measured in a Gordon Bennett Race and therefore has no influence in the ranking, those who find the fast layer and can keep the balloon in it create the foundation for their victory. This becomes clearly visible comparing Demuyter with Honeywell, ranking second again. Honeywell flew half an hour longer, but more than 300 km shorter.

From this flight, Ernest Demuyter gave a report in his book "Randonnées Victorieuses BELGICA". Who could tell more authentically?

Report Demuyter

Escaped BELGICA was never found. Demuyter was still in Bucarest when he received a comforting telegram from his King Albert I.: "When you return to Bruxelles, receive my warmest congratulations for your wonderful victory. With this success in aviation you have made a big contribution to the tradition of the Belgian people, to show courage in the moment of decision!" So the financing of a new BELGICA should be sure. It was and the balloon rushed from victory to victory in the following years.

Captain Paul Armbruster became seventh as the best Swiss competitor, so he was not among the first five. The brand new balloon "Thuna" from the Swiss aero-club was given to the balloon department Romande in Lausanne, as it had been decided before if such a case would happen. The Lausannians felt as if they had got the jackpot in a lottery.

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2016 FAI Young Artists Contest

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