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.
Forty years ago on 28 July 1976 Major General Eldon W. Joersz flew into the FAI record books by setting a world air speed record that still stands today.
40 Years Ago Today: Eldon Joersz became the fastest man in the world – a record that still stands today
On this day in history Eldon W Joersz officially became the fastest man in the world, when he flew his US Air Force Blackbird plane at an astonishing 3,529.56km/h (2,194 mph).
The FAI received the following records claims from the Russian balloonist Fedor Konyukhov, 64, who completed his circumnavigation on Saturday 23 July 2016 by landing near Bonnie Rock (AUS) in a Roziere combined hot-air and helium gas balloon:
On 23 July 2006, 10 years ago, French pro paraglider Charles Cazaux set a FAI World Record when he reached 41.15 km/h in the category “Speed over a triangular course of 25km”. In April 2010 he broke his own FAI World Record with 46,8 km/h which has not been superseded. He holds still multiple FAI World Records and knowing him, we are sure more is about to come from the French Paragliding Champion.
Russian veteran traveler Fedor Konyukhov, 64, landed safe and sound near the small town of Bonnie Rock on 23 July at 16.15 local time (08.15 UTC) after a 11 day 8 hours and 42 minutes flight in a Roziere combined (hybrid) hot-air and helium gas balloon challenging the 2002 performance of aviation legend Steve Fossett (320 hours 33 minutes). Now, they are both the only pilots to have completed the solo circumnavigation.