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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....

Read more...
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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18th Coupe Aéronautiqe Gordon Bennett - St.Louis (USA) 1929

Start in St.Louis, Manion Park, September 28th      

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

One had returned to the place of launch of 1907 and 1910, mostly to commemorate John Wise, who had met death exactly 50 years ago, on September 29th, 1897, on a balloon flight across Lake Michigan. John Wise was the most outstanding pioneer of early aeronautics in the United States. He became famous, when he set a world record flying 803 miles in 20 hours and 40 minutes from St. Louis to Henderson (NY) on July 1st, 1859. It was a pity, that only nine balloons took part in a race to honour him. One reason for this were the high expenses, European teams had to pay for the long journey and their stay in the US, the other reason was the more and more pressing superiority of the American balloons. The GOODYEAR company had ordered their best engineers and research scientists to develop new and lighter fabrics and all three balloons of the US teams took their profit of this development. Also, the team van Orman/McCracken was equipped with the most modern navigation aids of their time and so were considered as favourites before the launch. Under these circumstances, it is astonishing, that Germany took part in the race with two balloons, other European nations had sent, if they did, just one. With Great Britain, Italy and Spain, three nations, taking part in almost every race since the beginning, were no longer present. Italy and Spain took part in one race each some years later, Great Britain did not return to the races till 1983, their interest had almost come to an end.

Public interest was also reduced. Other events seized the headlines of the newspapers. LZ 127 GRAF ZEPPELIN had opened civil aviation between Germany and America when this airship flew from Friedrichshafen in Germany to Lakehurst in 111.5 hours under captain Hugo Eckener on October 11th, 1928. And it was just one month ago (August 28th, 1929) when the same ship had successfully finished a round the world-flight in 21 days. One day after the launch of the Gordon Bennett Race Fritz von Opel made the first successful flight with a plane, powered by rockets. That was more interesting than a gas balloons! The spectacular flights with a balloon to the stratosphere happened several years later.

One pilot in this race was the Argentinean Eduardo Bradley. He took part in the race for the second and unfortunately last time. His grand parents had lived in Boston/USA but then emigrated to Buenos Aires. Eduardo Bradley was the best known balloon pilot of South America. In 1909 he had been the first man to cross the Andes by air in a balloon, now he was the Secretary of the civil aviation authority of Argentina.

He began his trip to the race as passenger of the first airmail flight from Buenos Aires to Miami, which lasted 56 hours. The following railroad travel from Miami to St. Louis took him 54 hours. The race was unfortunately for him. Very bad weather forced him to land after about 18 hours south of Terre Haute (Indiana). A tree was in his way, both pilots were thrown overboard. His co-pilot, lieutenant Francisco J. Cadavan caught some bruses, but Bradley got a complicated break of his knee and had to stay in the Union Hospital of Terre Haute for one month.

After take-off at 4 p.m. the balloons crossed the home town of Lindbergh at low speed, heading north east. It rained without interruption and forced the competitors to dump a lot of ballast. The next day brought thunderstorms, that had to be over flown in high altitudes. Experienced Gordon Bennett pilots agreed after the flight, that this race was the most difficult since then.

Ward T. van Orman won the second time (after 1926), short but clear ahead of his fellow citizen W. E. Kepner, who had won the previous year. The fact, that the third rank was also covered by an American is unique in the history of the races an demonstrates the superiority of the American balloons. Demuyter had to be satisfied with rank 4, the two German balloons had a disappointing rank 7 and 8.

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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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Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth

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There are 150 pilots in Paragliding Worlds

Red Bull Air Race
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