FAI Paul Tissandier Diploma Presented to Dick Ionata

Richard (Dick) Ionata was presented with the Paul Tissandier Diploma by Rod Skaar, Chairman, NAA Contest and Records Board, at his home in Washington state on April 7th.

The Tissandier Diploma is awarded “… to those who have served the cause of Aviation in general and Sporting Aviation in particular, by their work, initiative, devotion, or in other ways.”

Ionata was appointed to the National Aeronautic Association’s Contest and Records Board in 1997. The NAA Contest and Records Board serves as an independent authority in the administration, documentation, and certification of all record attempts sanctioned by NAA. In 2005, he became Vice Chairman of the Contest and Records Board, a position he still holds today.

During his 20-year tenure on the Contest and Record Board, Ionata has overseen many airplane record attempts including the non-stop, speed around world record set by Steve Fossett in the GlobalFlyer in 2005. His vast aviation expertise, which he acquired as a pilot in the United States Air Force and as a pilot for United Airlines, has allowed him to provide guidance and practical training to other members to become Official Observers.

Ionata is an FAA certificated Air Transport Pilot, with type ratings in the Boeing 727, 757, and 767, as well as the Learjet. In 1995, while employed as a United Airlines captain, he set three records for Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route. Those records, all set in the Boeing 767-300, still stand today:

Chicago to Paris: 632 mph
Paris to San Francisco: 535 mph
San Francisco to Paris: 592 mph