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Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) is the world governing body for air sports and aeronautics and astronautics world records. This includes man-carrying vehicles from balloons to spacecraft, and unmanned vehicles (such as model aircraft and UAVs). It was founded in 14 october 1905.


The FAI is the international governing body for the following activities:
  • Aerobatics through the FAI Aerobatics Commission ("Commission Internationale de Voltige Aerienne" - CIVA)
  • Aeromodelling through the FAI Aeromodelling Commission ("Commission Internationale d'Aero-Modelisme" -CIAM)
  • Astronautic Records through the FAI Astronautic Records Commission ("International Astronautic Records Commission - ICARE)
  • Ballooning through the FAI Ballooning Commission ("Commission Internationale de l'Aérostation - CIA)
  • General aviation through the FAI General Aviation Commission ("General Aviation Commission - GAC)
  • Gliding through the FAI Gliding Commission ("International Gliding Commission - IGC")
  • Hang gliding & Paragliding through the FAI Hang Gliding & Paragliding Commission ("Commission Internationale de Vol Libre - CIVL)
  • Microlighting through the FAI Microlight Commission ("Commission Internationale de Microaviation - CIMA)
  • Parachuting through the FAI Parachuting Commission ("International Parachuting Commission - IPC )
  • Rotorcraft through FAI Rotorcraft Commission ("Commission Internationale de giraviation - CIG)

The FAI establishes the standards for records in the activities. Where these are air sports, the FAI also oversees international competitions at world and continental levels, and also organizes the World Air Games and FAI World Grand Prix.


Among the FAI's responsibilities are the verification of record-breaking flights. For a flight to be registered as a "World Record," it has to comply with the FAI's strict rules, which include a proviso that the record must exceed the previous record by a certain percentage. Since the late 1930s, military aircraft have dominated some classes of record for powered aircraft such as speed, distance, payload, and height, though other classes are regularly claimed by civilians.

Some records are claimed by countries as their own, even though their achievements fail to meet FAI standards. These claims are not typically granted the status of official records. For example, Yuri Gagarin earned recognition for the first manned spaceflight, despite failing to meet FAI requirements. The FAI initially did not recognize the achievement because he did not land in his Vostok spacecraft, but later it recognized that Gagarin was the first human to fly into space. The FAI then established "The Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal", which has been awarded since 1968.


The following types of craft have records:

Some of the records

Date Measurement Person Aircraft Type
Class A: Free balloons
March 31, 1999 40,814 km Bertrand Piccard and

Brian Jones
Breitling Orbiter Distance
May 4, 1961 34,668 m Malcolm Ross and

Victor Prather
Winzen Absolute altitude
Class C: Aeroplanes
February 11, 2006 41,467.53 km Steve Fossettmarker Virgin Atlantic GlobalFlyer Flight distance record (without refueling)
July 28, 1976 3,529.56 km/h Eldon Joersz SR-71 Flight airspeed record
August 31, 1977 37,650 m Alexandr Fedotov MiG E-266M Flight altitude record
October 22, 1938 17,083 m Mario Pezzi Caproni Ca.161 Flight altitude record (piston engine without payload)
Class D: Gliders & Motorgliders
August 29, 2006 15,460 m Steve Fossettmarker and

Einar Enevoldson
Glaser-Dirks DG-505M (modified) Gliding Altitude
January 21, 2003 3,008.8 km Klaus Ohlmann and

Karl Rabeder
Schempp-Hirth Nimbus-4 Gliding Distance
Class O: Hang Gliding & Paragliding
November 14, 2007 461.6 km Marcelo Prieto, Frank Thoma Brown and

Rafael Monteiro Saladini
Sol Paragliders Tracer Straight distance with a paraglider
Class R: Microlights
February 14, 2002 187 km/h Julian Harris and

Bob Sharp
Jabiru Aircraft UL 3 axis flight airspeed record.


  1. Official CIVA website
  2. Official CIAM website
  3. Official ICARE website
  4. Official CIA website
  5. Official GAC website
  6. Official IGC website
  7. Official CIVL website
  8. Official CIMA website
  9. Official IPC website
  10. Official CIG website
  11. The Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal
  12. A 501.1km flight by Nevil Hullett on 12 December 2008 is yet to be ratified
  13. Microlight World Records

External links

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