As the official record keeper for United States aviation, the National Aeronautic Association tracks dozens of world and national record attempts each year. New U.S. records are certified by NAA 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 NAA Contest and Records Department, records certified for that year are reviewed and a list of the “most memorable” is created.
Here is 2017’s list:
Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route, Miami, Florida, to Milan, Italy: 553.97 mph
Record for airplanes (Class C-1—airplane flown during scheduled operation): On April 3, Captain Eugene Scholl piloted an American Airlines Boeing 767-300 from Miami International Airport to Milan-Malpensa Airport in 8 hours, 54 minutes. The flight over the 4,930-mile course was the fastest commercial airline record of the year.
Large Formation Sequential: 111 skydivers, 3 formations
Record for parachuting (Class G-2—formation skydiving, general): On July 25, 111 skydivers jumped from five Twin Otters and a Skyvan above Ottawa, Ill. They all joined together in a freefall formation, and then transitioned into two additional formations before separating completely. They beat the previous record set in 2013 by 110 skydivers who completed two formations.
Distance Goal and Return: 139.32 miles
Record for model aircraft (Class F5S — radio control airplane, electric motor with rechargeable current): On July 28, Gary Fogel hand launched his model aircraft near Nevada’s Great Basin National Park. He and his team then followed it in a car heading south along Highway 93 to the declared turnpoint in Pioche, Nevada, reversed course, and then returned to the start location for landing. The 8-pound model — constructed of carbon fiber, Kevlar, and balsa — has a 12′ wingspan and is powered by lithium-ion batteries. The flight broke the previous record of 99 miles set in 2007.
Speed Over a 15-25 km Course: 147.20 mph
Record for unmanned aerial vehicles (Class U-2.b, Group I — autonomously controlled, internal combustion or jet engine UAV weighing 11 < 110 pounds): The Ohio State University team launched the Avanti JetCat UAS from Kelleys Island in Lake Erie on Aug. 30. The UAS immediately went into autonomous mode and then made two passes over the 15-kilometer course, at an average speed of 147 mph. The JetCat weighed 68 pounds at takeoff, has an 8′ wingspan, and is equipped with a turbojet engine rated at 40 pounds of thrust.
Speed Over a 3 km Course: 531.64 mph
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.e, Group I — piston engine airplane weighing 6,614 < 13,228 lbs): Flying the Reno Unlimited Racer Voodoo, a highly modified North American P-51 Mustang, Steven Hinton made a series of four passes over the runway in May, Idaho, averaging 532 mph. His flight on Sept. 2 beat the previous record of 318 mph set in 2012.
Absolute Altitude: 52,221′
Record for gliders (Class DO—open class, general): In Phase II of the ongoing Perlan Project, Jim Payne and Morgan Sandercock piloted the Perlan 2 glider to new heights in stratospheric mountain waves formed by the Andes mountain range near El Calafate, Argentina. Their flight on Sept. 3 beat the previous record of 50,726′ set in 2006.
Speed Over a Recognized Course, Farmingdale, N.Y., to Paris, France: 620.92 mph
Record for airplanes (Class C-1.m, Group III — jet engine airplane weighing 99,208 < 132,277 lbs): On one leg of their world record tour, Gulfstream pilots Mark Assaid, Eric Henman, and Ivo Maia flew a G650ER from Farmindale’s Republic Airport to Le Bourget Airport in Paris. They flew the 3,607-mile course in 5 hours, 48 minutes, on Oct. 5, setting the fastest speed record of the year.
“Once again, NAA recognizes aviation history, literally as it is being made,” said Greg Principato, NAA President & CEO. “The records we celebrate as 2017’s most memorable span the spectrum of aviation, from commercial, to gliders, to sky diving, to aeromodelling, and unmanned vehicles. Their achievements aren’t just about being slightly better than someone before them. They are about exploring the limits of what is possible and helping lead aviation to an even brighter future.”
The record setters will be honored at NAA’s Summer Awards Ceremony May 16, 2018 at the Lockheed Martin Fighter Demonstration Center in Arlington, Virginia.