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<December 2002> FAI News Archive

Biggest Record Ever Ends 2002
18/12/2002 | Posted by JeanMarc at 02:12 PM

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This is the final Press Release this year from the FAI, the World Air Sports Federation. First of all, we thank you very much for the attention you have given to the information we released throughout the year. To round the year off in style, we have news of an exciting new achievement in skydiving – see details of the latest World Record claim FAI has just received. As the holiday season starts in a few days, we finally remind you about the creative opportunity that FAI offers each year to young people : the FAI Young Artists Contest. We look forward to keeping you informed about Air Sports and FAI activities in 2003, and send you our best Season’s Greetings.

With best regards,

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale
Jean-Marc BADAN
Promotional Manager


World Record Claim in Class G (Parachuting)
Type of record : Largest freefall formation (G-2-C)
Location : Eloy, Arizona (USA) / 13 December 2002
Performance : An international team of 300 skydivers built, and held for over 7 seconds, a linked formation in freefall, beating the current record of 282 skydivers, set on 16 December 1999 in Thailand, also by an international team.
Information : About the record / About the organizers / About FAI World Records in Parachuting.

The details shown above are provisional. When all the evidence required has been received and checked, the exact performance will be established and the record ratified, if appropriate. The FAI congratulates all members of the international team on their outstanding performance.


2003 Young Artists Contest
General information and recent winners / Rules for the 2003 Young Artists Contest.

Good luck to all participants!


Winter Holidays
We inform you that the FAI Office will be closed from 25 December 2002 to 1 January 2003 inclusive.


Lausanne, 18 December 2002


FAI Loses an Outstanding Air Sports Enthusiast
11/12/2002 | Posted by JeanMarc at 08:00 AM

Recipient of FAI’s top award, the Gold Air Medal, Mrs Ann Welch (United Kingdom) has died at the age of 85. She was a pilot with a lifelong enthusiasm and love for flying. The FAI remembers Ann Welch for her enormous contributions to the development, under the umbrella of the FAI, of no less than four sports - Gliding, Hang Gliding, Paragliding and Microlight Flying.

Mrs Ann Welch

A Dream that Came Alive
“Once, a long time ago, I knew that all I ever wanted was to fly, to just float around in the cool sky, playing with the clouds, looking at the land and sea below, toy-like and beautiful.”
The words Ann Welch used to open her 1983 autobiography (“Happy to Fly”) are a perfect illustration of the dream and motivation that accompanied her long life as a pilot. Already as a child, Ann Welch kept a diary listing every aeroplane that flew over the house. Later, after she had acquired a motorbike to visit the local aerodrome, her dream came true, and in 1934 she obtained her pilot’s license at the age of seventeen.

Second World War
She started gliding in 1937, but soon the 2nd World War broke out. Enrolled in the Air Transport Auxiliary, Ann Welch greatly expanded her flying experience by ferrying all kinds of new aeroplanes - Spitfires, Hurricanes, Blenheims and Wellingtons - from the factories to operational units. After that difficult period, she concentrated on gliding and on the training of pilots and instructors.

A Life Dedicated to Air Sports
Ann Welch contributed greatly to the early development of gliding in Great Britain. For 20 years, she was in charge of the British Gliding Association Examining Panel. As Manager of the British Gliding Team, she accompanied the team to many international competitions and organized World Gliding Championships in Great Britain in 1965. Later, she was elected as delegate to the FAI International Gliding Commission and acted as jury member at several World Gliding Championships. Always alert to new opportunities for young people and those on tight budgets to take to the air, she closely followed the development of the new flying technologies, and was founder President of both the FAI Hang Gliding and Paragliding Commission (CIVL, 1976) and the FAI Microlight Commission (CIMA, 1982). On leaving elected office, she was appointed President of Honour of both these Commissions. Her publications – training manuals, guides to contest organisation, sporting codes, as well as narrative accounts of her experiences – are widely admired.

FAI Recognition
“I liked the FAI because it was a great and civilised gathering of enthusiasts, people from all over the world working together for the sort of flying we loved”. As she wrote in her autobiography, Ann Welch was highly motivated for FAI : for many years, she was also UK's delegate to the FAI Gliding Commission, member of the FAI Council for UK and editor of the FAI Bulletin. Ann Welch was awarded the FAI Bronze Medal (1969), the Lilienthal Medal (1973) and the FAI Gold Air Medal (1980) in recognition of her devotion to the training and encouragement of young pilots (see FAI Awards).

FAI deeply regrets the lost of a real enthusiast for Air Sports and hopes that Ann Welch will remain an inspiration to present and future generations of those who love to fly.


Lausanne, 11 December 2002


Ratification of 5 Ballooning World Records
05/12/2002 | Posted by JeanMarc at 02:16 PM

On 3 July 2002, Steve Fossett completed the first circumnavigation of the earth in a balloon in the Southern Hemisphere. After completion of a detailed analysis of the evidence for the flight, FAI confirms that the flight was conducted in full compliance with all the applicable rules of the FAI Sporting Code. Following five World Records have been ratified :

Absolute World Record / Claim # 7402
Type of record : Shortest time around the World
Location : Northam (AUS) / 03.07.02
Performance : 320 h 33 min
Pilot : Steve FOSSETT (USA)
Balloon : Cameron/Cole R-550
Previous record : 370 h 24 min / 20.03.99 – Bertrand PICCARD (SUI) and Brian JONES (GBR)

World Record in Category AM-14 (Mixed balloons 16’000 to 22’000 m3) / Claim # 7401
Type of record : Shortest time around the World
Location : Northam (AUS) / 03.07.02
Performance : 320 h 33 min
Pilot : Steve FOSSETT (USA)
Balloon : Cameron/Cole R-550
Previous record : new

World Record in Category AM-15 (Mixed balloons 22’000 m3 and above) / Claim # 7520
Type of record : Shortest time around the World
Location : Northam (AUS) / 03.07.02
Performance : 320 h 33 min
Pilot : Steve FOSSETT (USA)
Balloon : Cameron/Cole R-550
Previous record : 370 h 24 min / 20.03.99 – Bertrand PICCARD (SUI) and Brian JONES (GBR)

World Record in Category AM-14 (Mixed balloons 16’000 to 22’000 m3) / Claim # 7407
Type of record : Distance
Performance : 33’195.1 km
Location : Northam (AUS) / 03.07.02
Pilot : Steve FOSSETT (USA)
Balloon : Cameron/Cole R-550
Previous record : 22’910 km / 07.08.98 – Steve FOSSETT (USA)

World Record in Category AM-14 (Mixed balloons 16’000 to 22’000 m3) / Claim # 7408
Type of record : Duration
Location : Northam (AUS) / 03.07.02
Performance : 355 h 50 min
Pilot : Steve FOSSETT (USA)
Balloon : Cameron/Cole R-550
Previous record : 300 h 57 min / 17.08.01 – Steve FOSSETT (USA)


The FAI congratulates Steve Fossett on his outstanding performance.

For further information :
Our Press Release of 2 July 2002
Steve Fossett's list of World Records
FAI Sporting Code, section Ballooning


Lausanne, 5 December 2002


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