FAI World and continental championships (CAT.1)
Other FAI-Sanctioned events (CAT.2)
The FAI Ballooning Commission (CIA) conducts FAI ballooning activities, in particular World Records and International Competitions.
Competitive ballooning test pilots' skills in Distance, Speed (over short and long distances) and Navigational Precision. Each flight usually involves several tasks.
Competition balloons are usually 180-2200m3 in size. Competitions often take place in the early morning or late afternoon, times more suitable for the light wind conditions needed for initial inflation and safe landings. Each balloon carries a GPS flight recorder and a tracker-unit that transmits the balloon's position back to the starting area - enabling spectators to follow the competition.
The most historic ballooning event is the annual Coupe Aéronautique Gordon Bennett for gas balloons, created in 1906 and revived in 1983 after being discontinued at the outbreak of World War II. The balloon which flies the furthest distance from the start-point wins.