Human flight only became possible and evolved to its current state thanks to the courage and foresight of aviation pioneers who harnessed the most advanced technologies of their era. Today, the world of competitive air sports continues to evolve, with exciting new sports attracting a whole new generation of air sports fans. Embracing these new disciplines is a vital part of the FAI’s role of encouraging people around the world to take to the skies – as well as supporting those who have already discovered the joy of air sports. As is taking advantage of technological advances such as social media and video streaming to share our passion for air sports far and wide.
In drone racing, competitors fly around specially constructed circuits, dodging obstacles and passing through gates at break-neck speeds. This combination of speed, skill, and an exciting First-Person View (FPV) element that lets fans experience the thrills and spills close up, has made it one of the fastest growing forms of aviation in the world today. As the world governing body for all air sports, the FAI has ensured it is at the heart of the action by launching a number of drone sports events. These include the epic FAI Drone Racing World Cup and the third edition of the FAI World Drone Racing Championship that will take place in Namwon, Korea, in October 2023.
New Sports AND DISCIPLINES
One of FAI’s main priorities is to encourage new recruits to take up air sports, and boosting new disciplines is an important part of this.
Impressive to watch, and increasingly accessible (with dedicated wind tunnels now in most major cities), indoor skydiving is a great example of how the federation can help a recently conceived air sport to become a global success. With roots in parachuting, it’s another fun, young discipline that almost anyone can try! In April 2023 the 4th FAI World Indoor Skydiving Championships took place in Slovakia.
Another way to attract new participants to air sports is through e-sports. FAI has recently supported the development of virtual gliding in which pilots can compete virtually in online simulator races which follow real championship tasks. The 1st Virtual Sailplane Grand Prix took place in 2021, and 2023 will see the 1st Virtual Gliding FAI World Series help to bring the sport to a global audience.
Multi-platform digital media means we can now bring the exhilaration and intensity of competitive air sports to more people than ever before. Recent developments on this front include a new and improved FAI website offering news, competition calendars and air sports records. Alongside our Global Technical Partner, Noosphere, we have also developed a cutting-edge event management system – the eNavigator – that has already been used successfully at a number of FAI competitions. And last but not least, the federation has been working hard to increase its presence on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram – undoubtedly the best platforms to attract new air sports fans in this modern age.
Innovative technologies such as hybrid, electric, solar and battery-powered engines are ushering in a new era for air sports. And that means the FAI must continually develop and adapt its sporting code, and create new record categories, to allow the fascinating new aircraft being developed to reach their full potential. Find out more about our work in this area on the FAI Environment page.