How to set your own airspeed record
Like most pilots, I love speed. I’m always excited when I set a new high ground speeed mark in the GPS or when I make a regular trip in extra short time. And sometimes, on those extra fast legs, I wonder if my personal best just might also be a record book best. Which is why after a recent flight, I was thrilled to see an article from Hawker Beechcraft’s “FlightPath” magazine detailing exactly how to set your own air speed record. Cheryl Alley, the assistant editor of FlightPath, has been very generous and allowed me to reprint portions of this article. If you own a Hawker Beechcraft product, or would be interested in receiving information about Hawker Beechcraft Support services, please contact her at cheryl_alley [at] hawkerbeechcraft [dot] com
In the United States, the Contest & Records Department of the National Aeronautical Association (NAA) oversees and certifies aviation records while the Fédération Aéronutique Internationale (FAI) oversees worldwide records. If you set a national record, it can be considered for world record status. Last year, the NAA certified 91 flight records in the airplane category, seven of which were flown in Hawker Beechcraft products. There’s plenty of room for your name in there, especially in a Hawker Beechcraft aircraft.
Aircraft records, which are classified by engine-type and weight, can be set for distance, speed altitude, time-to-climb, greatest payload and efficiency. Distance and speed records can be set in one direction or out and back. For a speed record to be certified, the performance must be better than the existing record by 1%. Other minimums may be required. Check the NAA’s web site at www.naa.aero for details.
There isn’t anything mysterious or extravagant about planning for a record. Many records occur on normally scheduled flights and the pilots used normal flight planning techniques. The key in a successful airspeed record attempt is planning. Make sure you have the proper training and that you’ve established proper policies and procedures with your operation. Doing things spur-of-the moment leads to trouble.
I encourage anyone to research their own record-setting flight. It’s not only exciting, it’s a worthy goal steeped in aviation history.
To attempt and set a record, you must:
- Be a member of NAA
- Possess a valid FAI sporting license
- Read and understand the FAI Sporting Code and the NAA’s rules and requirements for record setting. Visit www.naa.aero for details
- Submit a sanction application with the appropriate fee. With an approved sanction you have exclusive rights to attempt the particular record in the U.S. during a set time, usually 90 days.
- Have your record witnessed by official observers designated by the NAA.
- Contact the NAA in writing about your record attempt within 72 hours via fax, email, overnight letter or through the NAA web site
- Call the NAA within 24 hours of submitting the claim in writing to ensure it was received.
- Submit appropriate flight documentation within 30 days or risk invalidating your attempt.