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2005 : Steve Fossett, the First Man to Fly Solo Around the World, Unrefuelled

With whom else than Steve Fossett could we open our series of world record celebrations? From 1995 t...

Aviation and Space World Records Anniversaries to Celebrate in 2015

The first space-walk by Alexey Leonov in 1965, the first solo flight across the Pacific Ocean by S...

Bonhomme triumphs in Abu Dhabi at Red Bull Air Race season opener

Hitting top speeds of 370 km/h while flying just above the turquoise waters of the Arabian Gulf, Bon...

World XC Online Contest: the 2014 winners

Since 2010, the CIVL/FAI World XC Online Contest has hang-gliding and paragliding pilots of the wo...

CIAM Flyer (1-2015) - They can’t stop enjoy flying

Catapult Gliders is a brilliant class to start a flying career with and the class can also give the ...

Aviation and Space World Records Anniversaries to Celebrate ....

Aviation and Space World Records Anniversaries to Celebrate ....

The first space-walk by Alexey Leonov in 1965, the first solo flight across the Pacific Ocean by Steve Fossett in 1995, the highest ballooning flight by Vijaypat Singhania in 2005, to name only a fe....

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1985-2014 : The Two Stories of the Exceptional Pilots Who Fl....

1985-2014 : The Two Stories of the Exceptional Pilots Who Fl....

The Himalaya and its vast territories, gigantic mountains, spiritual people and wild beauty have long exerted extraordinary fascination - which is far from fading. Ever since the 19th century when Eu....

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Eric Bertin Hired to Support FAI Sports Team ahead of the FA....

Eric Bertin Hired to Support FAI Sports Team ahead of the FA....

The FAI is pleased to announce that Eric Bertin has joined the Federation as Sports and Events Manager on 15 December 2014. His focus is on the FAI World Air Games Dubai 2015 and he is the prime conta....

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Strategic Roadmap for the Future of the Olympic Movement Mad....

Strategic Roadmap for the Future of the Olympic Movement Mad....

The IOC has unveiled the final draft recommendations for Olympic Agenda 2020, which is the strategic roadmap for the future of the Olympic Movement. The FAI, which bears the status of IOC-Recognised ....

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UN Recognises the Autonomy of IOC and Sport

UN Recognises the Autonomy of IOC and Sport

The United Nations General Assembly recently adopted a Resolution on sport entitled "Sport as a means to promote education, health, development and peace”. It is the first time in its history that t....

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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

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....

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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....

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Current Events

until 06 March 2015 2015 Pre World Cup Nepal Pokhara (Nepal)
until 13 March 2015 20th FAI World Hang Gliding Class 1 Championship Valle de Bravo (Mexico)
until 08 March 2015 2015 Paragliding Winter Cup Nova Gorica (Slovenia)

 

Latest FAI World Record Claims

15 November 2015 Parachuting : Longest sequence : 23 formations
21 February 2015 Parachuting : Para-Ski : 18 points Matej Becan (SLO)
21 February 2015 Parachuting : Para-Ski : 38 points Magdalena Schwertl (AUT)
21 February 2015 Parachuting : Para-Ski : 70 points Sebastien Graser (AUT)
15 February 2015 Parachuting : Large freefall formation : 24 parachutists
07 February 2015 Gliding : Free out-and-return distance : 1039.52 km Peter Rudi Temple (AUS)
07 February 2015 Gliding : Out-and-return distance : 1032.0 km Peter Rudi Temple (AUS)
06 February 2015 Powered Aeroplanes : Speed over a recognised course : 315.00 km/h James T. Claire (USA)
06 February 2015 Powered Aeroplanes : Speed over a recognised course : 980.00 km/h Michael Jarret (USA)
04 February 2015 Gliding : Free out-and-return distance : 1063.12 km Gerrit Kurstjens (AUS)
04 February 2015 Gliding : Out-and-return distance : 1054.91 km Gerrit Kurstjens (AUS)
04 February 2015 Gliding : Out-and-return distance : 904.04 km Pamela Kurstjens-Hawkins (AUS)
02 February 2015 Powered Aeroplanes : Speed over a recognised course : 820.00 km/h Michael R. Jarrett (USA)
31 January 2015 Ballooning : Distance : 10 710.00 km Troy Bradley (USA)
31 January 2015 Ballooning : Duration : 160 h 43 min Troy Bradley (USA)
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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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Browse the list of the FAI Awards recipients.

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