The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, FAI â€" The World Air Sports Federation, is the world governing body for air sports, aeronautics and astronautics world records. Its head office is in Lausanne, Switzerland. This includes man-carrying aerospace vehicles from balloons to spacecraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles (such as model aircraft and UAVs). It was founded on 14 October 1905.


Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

The FAI was founded at a conference held in Paris 12â€"14 October 1905, which was organised following a resolution passed by the Olympic Congress held in Brussels on 10 June 1905 calling for the creation of an Association "to regulate the sport of flying, ... the various aviation meetings and advance the science and sport of Aeronautics." The conference was attended by representatives from 8 countries: Belgium (Aero Club Royal de Belgique, founded 1901), France (Aéro-Club de France, 1898), Germany (Deutscher Aero Club e.V.), Great Britain (Royal Aero Club, 1901), Italy (Aero Club d'Italia, 1904), Spain (Real Aero Club de España, 1905), Switzerland (Aero-Club der Schweiz, 1900) and the United States (Aero Club of America, 1905).


Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

The FAI is the international governing body for the following activities:

  • Aerobatics through the FAI Aerobatics Commission ("Commission Internationale de Voltige Aerienne" â€" CIVA)
  • Aeromodelling through the FAI Aeromodelling Commission ("Commission Internationale d'Aero-Modelisme" â€" CIAM)
  • Astronautic Records through the FAI Astronautic Records Commission ("International Astronautic Records Commission â€" ICARE)
  • Ballooning through the FAI Ballooning Commission ("Commission Internationale de l'Aérostation â€" CIA)
  • General aviation through the FAI General Aviation Commission ("General Aviation Commission â€" GAC)
  • Gliding through the FAI Gliding Commission ("International Gliding Commission â€" IGC")
  • Hang gliding & Paragliding through the FAI Hang Gliding & Paragliding Commission ("Commission Internationale de Vol Libre â€" CIVL)
  • Human-powered aircraft through the FAI Amateur-Built and Experimental Aircraft Commission ("Commission Internationale des Aéronefs de Construction Amateur â€" CIACA")
  • Microlighting and Paramotoring through the FAI Microlight & Paramotor Commission ("Commission Internationale de Microaviation â€" CIMA)
  • Parachuting through the FAI Parachuting Commission ("International Parachuting Commission â€" IPC )
  • Rotorcraft through the FAI Rotorcraft Commission ("Commission Internationale de giraviation â€" 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 (he ejected from it), 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:

  • Class A Free Balloons
  • Class B Airships
  • Class C Aeroplanes
    • Class CS Solar-Powered Aeroplanes
  • Class D Gliders & Motorgliders
  • Class E Rotorcraft
  • Class F Model Aircraft
    • Class F1 â€" Free flight
    • Class F2 â€" Control line
    • Class F3 â€" Radio control
    • Class F4 â€" Scale model aircraft
    • Class F5 â€" Electrically powered model aircraft
  • Class G Parachuting
  • Class H Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Aeroplanes
  • Class I Manpowered aircraft
  • Class K Spacecraft
  • Class M Tilt-Wing/Tilt Engine Aircraft
  • Class N Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) Aeroplanes
  • Class O Hang Gliding & Paragliding
  • Class P Aerospacecraft
  • Class R Microlights and Paramotors
  • Class S Space Models
  • Class U Unmanned aerial vehicle

Some of the records


The FAI Gold Air Medal was established in 1924 and was first awarded in 1925. It is reserved for those who have contributed greatly to the development of aeronautics by their activities, work, achievements, initiative or devotion to the cause of Aviation. The FAI has also awarded the Paul Tissandier Diploma since 1952 to those who have served the cause of aviation in general and sporting aviation in particular.

The FAI also makes awards for each of the following air sports.

  • Awards for Ballooning:
    • The Montgolfier Ballooning Diploma
    • The Santos Dumont Gold Airship Medal
  • Awards for General Aviation:
    • The Charles Lindbergh General Aviation Diploma
  • Awards for Gliding:
    • The Lilienthal Gliding Medal
    • The Pelagia Majewska Gliding Medal
    • The Pirat Gehriger Diploma
  • Awards for Rotorcraft:
    • The FAI Gold Rotorcraft Medal
  • Awards for Parachuting:
    • The FAI Gold Parachuting Medal
    • The Leonardo da Vinci Parachuting Diploma
    • The Faust Vrancic Medal
  • Awards for Aeromodelling:
    • The FAI Aeromodelling Gold Medal
    • The Andrei Tupolev Aeromodelling Medal
    • The Alphonse Penaud Aeromodelling Diploma
    • The Antonov Aeromodelling Diploma
    • The Andrei Tupolev Aeromodelling Diploma
    • The Frank Ehling Diploma
  • Awards for Aerobatics:
    • The Leon Biancotto Aerobatics Diploma
  • Awards for Astronautics:
    • The Yuri A. Gagarin Gold Medal
    • The V.M. Komarov Diploma
    • The Korolev Diploma
    • The Odyssey Diploma
  • Awards for Hang Gliding:
    • The Pepe Lopes Medal
    • The FAI Hang Gliding Diploma
  • Awards for Microlight Aviation:
    • The Colibri Diploma
    • The Ann Welch Diploma
  • Awards for Aviation and Space Education:
    • The Nile Gold Medal
  • Awards for Amateur-Built Aircraft:
    • The Phoenix Diploma
    • The Phoenix Group Diploma
    • The Henri Mignet Diploma

FAI Young Artists Contest

The FAI Young Artists Contest is an international painting competition for youngsters between the ages of 6 and 17. Each FAI Member Country organises the contest in their country, and the national winners are submitted to the International Jury each year.


Active members

Associate members

Affiliate members

Temporary members

Suspended members

See also

  • Hot air ballooning


External links

  • Official FAI website

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