- What type of records are available?
- How are airplanes (FAI class C) classified?
- Who is eligible to set records?
- What is a sporting license and how do I get one?
- Who will observe my record attempt?
- If I use a secure recording device to document my flight, do I still need an observer?
- How do I get an NAA sanction?
- What are the particular rules for my record?
- How do I let NAA know that I have successfully completed my record?
- What needs to be done after the record has been completed?
- How soon until my record is officially certified?
- What will I receive for my accomplishments?
- How can I let other people know about my accomplishment?
- How can my copilot be a part of the record?
- What fees are involved?
1. What types of records are available?
NAA follows the guidelines set forth in the FAI sporting codes as to what sort of accomplishments are recognized. In airplanes, for example, records can be set for distance, speed, altitude, time to climb, greatest payload, and efficiency. Distance and speed records can be set in one direction or out and back over a closed course. The listings of the specific records available can be found in the FAI sporting code section appropriate to each vehicle type.
2. How are airplanes (FAI class C) classified?
Airplanes in FAI class C are typically classified in two ways: takeoff weight and engine type. This is so pilots flying airplanes of similar size and the same engine type compete against each other. The actual takeoff weight of the airplane during the attempt will determine its weight classification.
Weight classifications can be found in FAI sporting code section 2, paragraph 3.2.3. The type of engine on an airplane will determine its propulsion group - internal combustion engine, turboprop, jet engine, rocket, scramjet, or electric. Airplanes in class C are not categorized by the number of engines, nor by the number of pilots flying the airplane. A single engine piston airplane weighing 3,000 pounds flown by one person would be in the same class as a multi-engine piston airplane weighing 3,000 pounds flown by two people.
3. Who is eligible to set records?
In order to attempt a record, an individual must be a member of NAA and possess a valid FAI sporting license. Current members of NAA air sport organizations are considered Air Sport Members of NAA and are not required to have separate membership in NAA itself. However, a sporting license is always required. Please check with NAA or the individual air sport organization for applicability.
4. What is a sporting license and how do I get one?
An FAI Sporting License is a license which allows an individual to compete in sanctioned record attempts or air sport competitions. In the United States, sporting licenses can be issued to U.S. citizens or to non-citizens who meet certain residency requirements. If you currently have or have previously had a sporting license issued by another country, please let NAA know when you apply.
Sporting Licenses are free to qualified NAA members (annual membership fee is $39). Non-NAA members pay $45 for a one year sporting License. Sporting Licenses are issued for use in one discipline only - airplanes, balloons, gliders, etc. If an individual wishes to compete in more than one activity, additional sporting licenses must be obtained at a cost of $45 for non-NAA members and $25 for NAA members. The Academy of Model Aeronautics, has the authority by NAA to issue sporting licenses for record attempts and competitions in their particular discipline. Contestants participating in aeromodeling should contact AMA directly.
5. Who will observe my record attempt?
Record attempts must be overseen by qualified, objective individuals without any perceived conflict of interest. NAA’s Contest & Records Board is comprised of individuals who specialize in observing record attempts. In some instances, ATC personnel may be used as observers. In any case, having an observer appointed to your record attempt should be one of the first steps of the process.
Both you and the observer should be familiar with the operation of any specialized equipment (barograph, flight recorder, video camera, etc.) that will be used to document your attempt. Practicing using the equipment before the big day is highly recommended.
Yes, even if a secure device such as a GPS (GNSS) flight recorder is used during the record attempt, an official observer must be present. In addition to sealing and installing the recording device, the observer must certify other details of the flight independent of the recorded data. This includes (but is not limited to): make, model, and serial number of the recording device; time that the recording device is turned on and off; aircraft make, model, and registration information; and takeoff and landing times. It may also be necessary for the observer to witness weighing of the aircraft to ensure that it is within limits of a particular record class.
7. How do I get an NAA sanction?
In order for NAA to sanction a record attempt, a sanction application must be submitted, along with the appropriate fee. In most cases, sanctions approved by NAA give applicants exclusive rights to attempt the particular record in the United States during the sanction window (usually 90 days). Please note that other countries have this same sanctioning authority, and may sanction a corresponding attempt elsewhere in the world without NAA’s knowledge. Sanction applications can be approved only for those holding appropriate ratings for the aircraft that will be used. Proof of competency, in the form of a photocopy of your FAA pilot certificate or air sport rating, is required. Student pilots are not eligible to set records.
The Soaring Society of America, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and the United States Parachute Association, as NAA air sport organizations, have been given the authority to issue sanctions for record attempts in their particular discipline. Contestants in those disciplines should contact those groups directly.
8. What are the particular rules for my record?
Each aviation discipline has its own rules for record-setting activities. All contestants are required to read and study the FAI Sporting Code applicable to their particular discipline.
Records must be approved as U.S. National records before they can be considered for World record status. NAA uses the FAI criteria for certifying U.S. National records. Be advised that some records have a minimum performance or a minimum margin over the existing performance that must be achieved for a record to be accepted.
It is very important that you clear up any questions you may have by contacting NAA before starting the attempt. It is much better to understand the requirements for your record before it is flown, rather than afterwards, when the time, effort, and resources have already been expended.
9. How do I let NAA know that I have successfully completed my record?
Once your record has been successfully completed, you must contact NAA in writing within 72 hours. This contact can be via overnight letter, fax, email, or the automated form on the NAA website. This must include your name, the record you are claiming, the aircraft used, the date the record was accomplished, the location where the record was flown, and the estimated performance. If a GPS (GNSS) flight recorder was used to document the flight, a copy of the data file must also be submitted to NAA within 72 hours of the flight. This must be done directly by the official observer in order to maintain a secure chain of custody of the data file.
After your initial record information has been received, NAA will make the claim with FAI and send you an acknowledgment of receipt of your claim by email. FAI has strict time limits for the submission of record claims, so it is extremely important that NAA be notified promptly of your achievement. Late notification can invalidate the entire record attempt. Within 24 hours of submitting the claim in writing, you must telephone NAA to be sure your claim has been received.
10. What needs to be done after the record has been completed?
For most records, there are standard forms to be used to document the flight. They can be found on the Records Downloads page of NAA’s website. It is then the responsibility of you and any observers to forward all supporting documentation for your claim to NAA within 30 days. All documentation should be original - photocopies or faxes of original documents are not acceptable. An original signature should appear on all documentation submitted by the observer.
11. How soon until my record is officially certified?
Once NAA has received all supporting documentation, the record claim can be processed for certification. This can require up to 30 days. After the record has been certified by NAA, the documentation is sent to FAI in Lausanne, Switzerland for certification. FAI certification can take an additional 30-60 days.
12. What will I receive for my accomplishments?
NAA issues certificates commemorating your achievement as a U.S. National record. FAI-issued record “diplomes” are issued to those records certified as World records. In addition, there are other items which can be purchased to show off your status as a record holder. Please see the information on NAA’s website for more details on these products.
13. How can I let other people know about my accomplishment?
As a record setter, you are eligible to have your record certificate presented at one of NAA’s awards ceremonies. Events are held in the spring and fall, usually in the Washington, DC area. When your record is certified, NAA will inform you of the date of the next ceremony and offer you a chance to be a part of the program. In addition, NAA can produce a news release and send it to three media outlets of your choosing (national magazine, local newspaper, radio/TV station, etc.).
14. How can my copilot be a part of the record?
Copilots or other flight crewmembers can be listed on the record. They are required to be NAA members and hold an FAI sporting license (see question 3). However, their participation is not mandatory.
15. What fees are involved?
For the most current fee schedule, please see our page of Records Downloads. Contestants making attempts through the Soaring Society of America, the Academy of Model Aeronautics, and the United States Parachute Association should contact those organizations directly.