Sadly, this no longer applies since USUA is no longer the air sport rep for ultralights (there is none as of July 2019). This article is preserved as a record of how it was.
Wanna break a world record? Here’s how. Also, there is a great FAQ available from National Aeronautique Association (NAA) that answers many of these questions brilliantly.
Here’s how to become an observer. We need observers!
National records are officially recognized by the U.S.’s National Aeronautical Association (NAA.aero) which has authority from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI.org). International records are recognized by the FAI. And for the record, Dell Schanze, who makes many exorbitant, and blatantly ridiculous claims, has never set even a single national record, let along a world record. Nor is he even been a U.S. champion, let alone a world champion.
Here is how YOU can actually set U.S. or World records.
- Become a USUA member ($30/yr). This is the national org recognized by national and world bodies for establishing records.
- Get your Sporting License ($45) from the NAA. You must be a resident of the U.S. to get a U.S. Sporting License. It’s available online here from the NAA’s website. Answer the questions no and yes assuming you are a USUA member.
- Find the record you want to break and read the rules that apply to it as provided on the right side of NAA’s website. We are considered Microlights. Here are the records from NAA’s website.
- Submit a Sanction Application at least 21 days ahead of the first desired flight dates. You can download the PDF from the right side of NAA’s website. An observer will be assigned. You don’t pay the observer but must cover his/her expenses.
- Fly the record.
- Submit a record claim online *AND* the application for a record from the FAI’s website. Work with your observer to make sure everything is covered. I’ve worked with the NAA now and see that they are out to help you, within reason, achieve your record. But it does take some effort and understanding of the rules by both pilot and observer. Like most other human interactions, do you part, show that you’re trying to be thorough, and they will bend over backwards to help get everything through.
Now go out and put America on in the record book!
Here are the records that you can go for. Note that paramotors are Class R-Microlights, Subclass P for paraglider, F for foot launched, 1 for solo (2 for tandem), T for thermal engine (or E=electric) and m for male (or f=female). So RPF1Tm means Class R Microlight, P Paraglider, F Footlaunched, 1 solo, T Thermal engine (piston engine) and m male.
A wheeled craft, in FAI parlance, is a “Landplane”. So a two-stroke powered solo cart flown with 1 pilot would be RPL1T. R=microlight, P=paraglider control, L=landplane, 1=solo, T=thermal engine. There is no gender breakdown.
This is all defined in the FAI Sporting Code, Section 10 – Microlights and Paramotors. Here are the records recognized internationally:
- 3.2.1 DISTANCE IN A STRAIGHT LINE WITHOUT LANDING
- 3.2.2 DISTANCE IN A STRAIGHT LINE WITHOUT ENGINE POWER
- 3.2.3 DISTANCE IN A STRAIGHT LINE WITH LIMITED FUEL
- 3.2.4 DISTANCE IN A CLOSED CIRCUIT WITHOUT LANDING
- 3.2.5 DISTANCE IN A CLOSED CIRCUIT WITHOUT ENGINE POWER
- 3.2.6 DISTANCE IN A CLOSED CIRCUIT WITH LIMITED FUEL
- 3.2.7 ALTITUDE
- 3.2.8 TIME TO CLIMB TO A HEIGHT OF 3,000 m
- 3.2.9 TIME TO CLIMB TO A HEIGHT OF 6,000 m
- 3.2.10 SPEED OVER A STRAIGHT COURSE
- 3.2.11 SPEED OVER A CLOSED CIRCUIT