Each year, as the official record keeper for United States aviation, the National Aeronautic Association tracks dozens of world and national record attempts. New U.S. records are certified and those qualifying as world records are then ratified with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI). At the end of each year, under the direction of the Contest and Records Department, a list of the “most memorable” is created. Here’s a glimpse of the Class of 2011:
Stan Buddenbohm threw his balsa wood and carbon fiber model glider into the air in an airship hangar and it flew there for 1 minute and 52 seconds, breaking the previous duration record he had set in 2010. See it fly on YouTube.
Boeing pilots Michael Carriker, Chad Lundy, Gregory McCann, William Roberson, Rodney Skaar, and Christine Walsh set a new distance record of 11,894 miles in their 787 Dreamliner while flying from Seattle, Washington to Dhaka, Bangladesh on the first leg of an around-the-world flight requiring just one fuel stop. The previous record of 10,501 miles was set in 2002.
The piston airplane speed over a three kilometer course record was set by Will Whiteside in his Yak-3. He flew an average speed of 416 mph which broke the previous record by 112 mph.
The free three turnpoint distance record for multi-place gliders was set twice in 2011 by Gordon Boettger and Hugh Bennett in their Schempp-Hirth Duo Discuss glider. 1,321 miles is their latest and greatest distance.
Gulfstream G650 pilots William Dobbs and Ronald Newton established a speed record when they flew non-stop from Burbank Airport in California to Hilton Head International Airport in Georgia in 3 hours and 26 minutes averaging 623 mpg.
The University of Maryland’s “Gamera” human-powered rotorcraft flew in ground effect for 11.4 seconds, shattering the duration record of 4.2 seconds it had set two months prior.
In its final flight, NASA Space Shuttle Discovery, commanded by Steven Lindsey, set a new record for assembled mass of spaceships linked in flight when it docked with the International Space Station on February 26. The total mass was 1,135,569 pounds.
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