How to set a Record
Most aircraft from the beginnings of aviation – starting with the Wright brothers’aircraft and Santos-Dumont’s famous Demoiselle – were “home-made”.
Every year, air shows are organised in various countries so that amateur designers can meet and exchange their experiences. The most famous and largest of these gatherings is the one taking place every year in Oshkosh, Wisconsin (USA), every year.
The next FAI Amateur-Built and Experimental Aircraft Commission (CIACA) Plenary Meeting will take place on Sunday 19 April 2015 in Friedrichshafen (GER)
Please register online for the meeting
The following main Events are scheduled for 2013. Before you set out please check with the organiser.
50th Anniversary of the Experimental Aviation Switzerland - Regional Festivities:
Jämi Fly In & Airshow
50th Anniversary of the Experimental Aviation Switzerland - Regional Festivity:
50th Anniversary of the Experimental Aviation Switzerland - Main Festivity:
EAS Experimental Aviation Switzerland
The FAI Amateur Built and Experimental Aircraft Commission (CIACA) was established at the 1973 FAI General Conference, and met for the first time on 10 June 1974. It was converted from a Technical into a Air Sports Commission in 2012.
It is nominally composed by delegates for homebuilt aircraft of all national Aero Club of the world. In practice most active members of the commission are the delegates of the countries where the movement of amateur-built aircraft is advanced and well established. However every year new members join the annual meeting, which offers an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas, experiences and to take common international initiatives.
The tasks of CIACA include the promotion of design, construction and operation of amateur and homebuilt aircraft, and the restoration of vintage aircraft.
In particular, the most profitable activities and achievements of CIACA can be hereinafter summarised:
The experiences successfully achieved in the countries where the movement is well established are shared and made available to all interested delegates . Especially to those of countries where their C.A.A. are most severe and close-minded.
In some instances official actions are taken in order to give the relevant national authorities the view of FAI.
There have been cases such that the international "pression" applied by CIACA on the public and authorities opinion has contributed in making them more sensitive to the Aircraft Homebuilders movement.
Countries where the homebuilding regulations are not defined yet can take advantage of CIACA shared knowledge for having possible effective reference for developing their own regulations and/or internal organization .
Especially for european countries an harmonization effort is carried out, aimed at a future unification of the international rules . For instance, a continuous effort is devoted in order to achieve a complete " mutual recognition" by all european countries as far as homebuilt aircraft border crossing is concerned.
Rationalisation and share of common information
The widest participation in CICA's meetings allow to continuously improve the availability and sharing of useful information, otherwise unreachable.
FAI Diplomas are awarded internationally by CIACA:
The Henry Mignet Diploma, established by the FAI in 1984, may be annually awarded to the project of an amateur-built aircraft which at best represents Henry Mignet spirit: simplicity and economy. In particular one or more of the following conditions shall be fulfilled:
Also the best restauration carried out by an individual or by a group are awarded the Phoenix and the Phoenix Group Diplomas. These diplomas, established by the FAI in 1978 and 1990 respectively, may each be awarded for the best reconstruction or restoration of a vintage (more than 30 years old) aircraft achieved by an individual amateur, in the case of the Phoenix Diploma, and by a group of any size or description (e.g. museum, sponsored group, society, company) in the case of the phoenix Group Diploma.
Each FAI Member may annually submit the name of one candidate for each of the Diplomas to the FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission for consideration.
As a result of the dialogue with other FAI Commissions actions are sometimes undertaken, aimed at enlarging the aeronautical culture and at promoting new constructions. This was the case, for instance, when the FAI Aviation and Space Education Commission (CIEA) suggested to undertake initiatives aimed at encouraging the jouth participation in aeronautical activities. To this respect CIACA is suggesting to stimulate initiatives of homebuilding aircraft in Universities and schools. In particular the Akeflieg experience will be shared soon thanks to the participation of Herr Jannes Neumann, president of Idaflieg, roof organization of all Akaflieg's in Germany, one of that organization's manager who will give a presentation during next annual meeting.
Three subcommissions have been recently established, specialized in public relation, environmental and safety matters, respectively.
To all concerned with electrically- and solar-powered aircraft
Since a couple of years the FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission (CIACA) has been monitoring the developing movement of Electrically- and solar-powered aircraft. As initial result, preliminary definitions had been introduced into the 1996 FAI sporting code update. In the course of the recent 90th FAI General Conference in Rio an additional refinement has been applied in the sporting code; in the same occasion further discussions on this subject have taken place.
In particular FAI President encouraged initiatives aimed at promoting the development of these emerging categories of flying machines and the future organisation of proper competitions , possibly in the frame of the FAI World Air Games.
Reason of this message is that of informing all concerned with electrically- and solar-powered aircraft about the preliminary results achieved so far and the foreseen initiatives within FAI.
Some comments are also included, related to the technological trend of these new disciplines, collected from different sources.
All of this is also intended as a basis for discussion and contributions which will be welcome ( see subsequent point 4: specialised mailing list).
1) C.I.A.C.A. questionnaire on electrically- and Solar-powered Aircraft
First of all let me thank all those who contributed, either by replying to my questionnaire or by providing comments and suggestions, to the investigation carried out so far on the subject of electrically- and solar-powered aircraft.
The questionnaire's circulation has been as large as possible, involving approximately 60 people/groups in the world (hopefully most of all concerned have been reached...). Twelve replies have been collected so far. We expect that this figure will progressively increase once this second message will be circulated (to this aim the distribution via the newly established mailing list shall help ). A short summary of these replies has been reported in the meeting of FAI C.A.S.I. Commission in Rio and is hereinafter presented:
Number of persons/groups contacted: Approx. 60
Number of replies/contacts considered : 12
There is a general agreement upon the need for some kind of "initial" definitions. According to the majority this need, in addition to be useful for opening the path to sporting competitions, is motivated by the necessity to make flight of prototypes formally feasible (some people suggest that weight limitations be applied, thus including these machines within the ultra-light group..).
In addition to electrically- and solar-powered aircraft/motor-gliders, also unmanned and airships shall have to be considered ; there are in fact around good examples of such kind of flying machines, the record breaking of which shall have to be subject of proper rules.
It is an almost general opinion that actual competitions are still a few years ahead, particularly for those "solar-powered" machines. The economical issue, in this case, heavily affects the development of the movement and only those groups which can afford significant budgets are in a position to proceed expeditiously (somebody is suggesting that some sort of grouping is made taking into account the installed panels efficiency level (and/or covered surface), thus differentiating in terms of money invested ...).
The category of pure electrically-powered aircraft ("motor-gliders"..) is obviously considered the most mature one, being more economically affordable and therefore suitable in a shorter time for actual competitions.
This is also confirmed by the fact that, after the prototyping experience carried out in Italy with an electrically-motorised homebuilt motor-glider (Monerai), in Germany the electrically-powered light motor-glider "Silent AE", powered with a 13 kW electric motor performed its first flight in Aachen last August. According to "Fliegermagazine (Nov.'97") the performance was quite interesting, with a 2.4 m/s climb rate and a climb up to 500 m. It is now being certified and a small series is being produced to be put soon on the market. The manufacturer is also considering the possibility of organising a preliminary competition for these machines (expected a first series of 10 units).
Furthermore recently interesting developments have been performed in the field of batteries, which seem to offer very good power-to-weight ratios. An electrically-powered motor-glider is today feasible !
The German glider manufacturer DG Flugzeugbau GmbH have presented on the web a very interesting proposal about a possible DG-800E 18 m high performance glider, which might be put on the market in an electrically-powered version if it will be understood that the market is actually interested ( in their message in Internet they, in fact, ask for comments... see www.dg-flugzeugbau.de/Elektroflieger-e.html).
There are no doubts that a precise definition for this category is more urgent.
Among the questions to be considered are the following:
My personal opinion is that something could be done with the aim of speeding up also the process of developing a class of solar-powered aircraft (I would rather say "motor-gliders") which could be suitable for sporting competitions and actual entertainment not too later than the "pure" electrically-powered ones. In particular, instead of requiring level flight under sun radiation power, a solar-powered motor-glider would be a machine capable of taking-off autonomously after charging (on ground) through sun radiation its batteries (it is unlikely, for long time, that take-off and climbing without help of batteries will be possible, particularly if a "normal weight" pilot were required) ; flight after take-off and climb would be either a simple gliding flight or a sun-power-panels assisted flight (this could be a designer’s choice; in both cases there are advantages and disadvantages depending on the weather conditions).
If the requirement of level flight under a pre-defined sun-radiation were maintained, a significant economical discrimination would exist between those who can afford high efficiency (e.g. gallium arsenide) solar cells and those who can not. At the same time it would be arguable which is a "correct" sun radiation reference level. (For instance, the reference level of 500 watt/m2 prescribed by the "Berblinger prize", is such that no aircraft today would meet the requirement ; in practice, according to this rule, Icare and Sunseeker would not be classified as "solar-powered aircraft")
The following questions, therefore, shall be replied to:
2) Paper presented in the XXV OSTIV Congress in Saint Auban, with the title: "Electrically- and solar-powered gliders: Do they require the definition of new FAI classes?"(P.Duranti)
The paper presented a discussion mainly based on the result of the aforementioned questionnaire , with several considerations by the author. Aim of it was to provoke discussions and comments from anybody interested, in order to make the debate more lively. The paper shall be published on "Technical soaring" (OSTIV Magazine).
3) FAI Sporting code definitions for Electrically- and solar-powered aircraft
The initial definitions, introduced for the first time in the Sporting code during the 89th FAI General Conference (1996, Bled, Slovenia) have been modified based on discussions held in Rio (which referred to the questionnaire’s results too), in the course of the 90th FAI General Conference (Rio, Brazil).
The philosophy followed has been that of leaving in the General part of the Sporting code just very simple definitions, transferring to other paragraphs (still to be developed) the relevant details.
At present, therefore, the following definitions are present under "Class C: Aeroplane":
The above definitions should be read very carefully; in fact they imply, for instance:
4) Dedicated FAI mailing list
Any comment to the aforementioned information are of course welcome. In fact we hope that all concerned with electrically- and solar powered flight will feel motivated to further contribute in these discussions, regardless whether they are interested in aeroplanes, motor-gliders, unmanned, airships etc.
In order to make this exchange of opinions more effective, a dedicated mailing list has been established. Click here to subscribe to the list.
Please pass on this message to any person/group that you are aware of, involved in electrically and/or solar-powered aircraft, suggesting that they subscribe to this mailing list.
We will monitor all the messages circulated and, whenever necessary, will post the results of any FAI discussion/initiative on these subjects.
The role of the FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission (CIACA - Commission Internationale des Amateurs Constructeurs d'Aéronefs) in FAI consists of the promotion of design, construction and operation of amateur and home built aircraft, and the restoration of vintage aircraft. In particular, the most profitable activities and achievements of CIACA can be hereinafter summarized:
The experiences successfully achieved in the countries where the movement is well established are shared and made available to all interested delegates. Especially to those of countries where their C.A.A. are most severe and close-minded.
In some instances official actions are taken in order to give the relevant national authorities the view of FAI.
There have been cases such that the international "pressure" applied by CIACA on the public and authorities opinion has contributed in making them more sensitive to the Aircraft Homebuilders movement.
Countries where the homebuilding regulations are not defined yet can take advantage of CIACA shared knowledge for having possible effective reference for developing their own regulations and/or internal organization.
Especially for European countries an harmonization effort is carried out, aimed at a future unification of the international rules. For instance, a continuous effort is devoted in order to achieve a complete “mutual recognition" by all European countries as far as homebuilt aircraft border crossing is concerned.
Rationalization and share of common information
The widest participation in CIACA's meetings allows to continuously improve the availability and sharing of useful information, otherwise unreachable. For instance, international data bases are being established and progressively enlarged thanks to delegates contributions. (e.g.: list of amateur-built aircraft per type and per country, list of international amateur-built aircraft events etc. ...)
As a result of the dialogue with other FAI Commissions actions are sometimes undertaken, aimed at enlarging the aeronautical culture and at promoting new constructions. This was the case, for instance, when the FAI "Aviation and Space Education Commission (CIEA)" suggested undertaking initiatives aimed at encouraging the youth participation in aeronautical activities. To this respect CIACA is suggesting to stimulate initiatives of homebuilding aircraft in Universities and schools. In particular the Akeflieg experience will be shared soon thanks to the participation of Herr Jannes Neumann, president of Idaflieg, roof organization of all Akaflieg's in Germany, one of that organization's manager who will give a presentation during next annual meeting.
The FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission (CIACA) meets once a year at an Annual Meeting to discuss and work on the Amateur-Built Aircraft and its development.
Each FAI Member Country may appoint a Delegate with the right to vote at the Plenary Meeting.
Between annual meetings, the FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission is run by the Bureau, which consists of the President, 2 Vice Presidents and the Secretary. The Bureau is elected by the Plenary Meeting.
The Bureau is elected during the annual meeting of the FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission.
Each FAI Member Country can appoint a Delegate to the FAI Amateur-Built Aircraft Commission and participate in the work of the commission.
FAI Medals and Diplomas are awarded each year at the Opening Ceremony of the annual FAI General Conference.
The FAI Awards for Amateur-Built Aircraft are the following:
Go to the Documents page to browse documents on environmental matters.