Many people think of commercial or general aviation aircraft when they think of flying, but aviation consists of much more than just airplanes. The many different disciplines of flying are represented by a variety of Air Sport Organizations (ASOs), which are the heart and soul of aviation in America. Nearly half a million people belong to ASOs in the United States, representing aerobatics, aeromodeling, ballooning, gliding, helicopters, ultralights and parachuting.
Part of NAA's mission is to encourage the sport of aviation, and it does so through its relationship with the many air sports. NAA founded or helped form many of the ASOs and continues to work closely with all of them to get more people involved with sporting aviation. ASOs are constantly changing and evolving as new technology, and new aircraft and air sports become available.
NAA recognizes the ASOs as the official governing bodies for their respective air sports. NAA and the air sport organizations have reciprocal board memberships, and these relationships produce better understanding of the unique challenges facing each organization. This cooperation also prepares NAA for its representational responsibilities with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) on the international level. FAI is the world air sports federation, overseeing all air sport activity throughout the world, setting up world championship competitions and keeping world records in all disciplines.