A Russian priest who circumnavigated the world in a balloon in record time has been presented the inaugural FAI - Breitling Pilot of the Year Award at a ceremony in Switzerland yesterday, Thursday 17 November 2016.
One of the last records we would like to commemorate this year comes from an Italian pilot, famous in civil and military aviation:
110 years ago, exactly today, the first officially observed flight in Europe that was longer than 25m was performed in Paris (FRA) by the Brazilian Aviation Pioneer Alberto Santos-Dumont, resident in France and famous for his experiments with small airships and balloons.
Christian Ciech is one of the most successful pilots in competition hang gliding, and was FAI European and World Champion at the same time in 2016. We spoke to him…
Charles Bolden, who has been awarded the prestigious FAI Gold Space Medal for 2016, knows about space. Not only has he been in orbit four times, but for the last seven years he has been at the head of NASA.
60 years ago on 7 September 1956, American Test pilot Iven C. Kincheloe Jr. flew at more than 3.200 km/h (2.000 mp/h) and to a height of 38.5 km (126.200 feet), becoming the first human ever to fly above 100.000 feet with the Bell X-2 rocket-powered research airplane.
11 August 1986: A modified factory demonstration Westland Lynx AH.1 Helicopter piloted by Chief Test Pilot John Trevor Egginton set an FAI Absolute Record for Speed for helicopters over a straight 15 and 25 km course of 400.87 km/h (249.089 mp/h) near Glastonbury on the Somerset Levels and Moors, Southwest England.
Ferenc Toth has been at the top of his game since the turn of the century. The FAI Glider Aerobatics World Champion won his first major competition in 2000, aged 32. That was the FAI European Aerobatic Glider Championships, held in Provence, France, and it was a close battle between him and Jerzy Makula – the ‘grandfather’ of glider aerobatics – for the top spot.
“I have four sons, Jan is the youngest. But you know, when he was very little he was afraid of flying, he would not even touch the glider.” Jerzy Makula is a legend in glider aerobatics, often called the ‘grandfather of the sport’. A commercial pilot he has been at the forefront of developing glider aerobatics for four decades, pushing the boundaries and coaching individual pilots and national teams. He has been Glider Aerobatics World Champion seven times.
Now, his son Jan, 22, is following in his father’s footsteps and competing in the Unlimited class at the World Glider Aerobatic Championships. “I don’t remember when I first went flying with my dad, but I was young,” explains Jan.