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Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet to be Awarded the 2017 Collier Trophy

Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet

Cirrus Aircraft has been named as the recipient of the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for "... designing, certifying, and entering-into-service the Vision Jet - the world's first single-engine general aviation personal jet aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system." 

The Collier Trophy is awarded annually "...for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America, with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year." At 106 years old, the Collier Trophy represents a timeline of air and space achievements, marking major events in the history of flight.

"At Cirrus Aircraft we are honored and humbled to be awarded the 2017 Collier Trophy and to even be mentioned among the giants in aviation and space research that have won before us," said Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus Aircraft Co-founder and CEO. "The arrival of the Vision Jet has forever changed general aviation and personal transportation and the 2017 Collier Trophy is dedicated to all of our employees and partners who have been a part of the development, production and now delivery of this game-changing airplane. We will celebrate this great honor by continuing to focus on our core mission of creating safer aircraft, safer pilots and safer skies." 

"For more than a century, the Collier Trophy has recognized the greatest achievements in aviation in America," stated Greg Principato, President and CEO of NAA. "By revolutionizing general and personal aviation, Cirrus Aircraft, with their Vision Jet, has added to a great and historic Collier legacy. We at the National Aeronautic Association congratulate them on their achievement and look forward to the presentation of the Collier Trophy on June 14th." 

The Collier Trophy Selection Committee, comprised of 25 aviation and aerospace professionals, convened on April 3, 2018 to hear presentations from nine nominees.

The Collier Trophy will be formally presented at the Annual Robert J. Collier Trophy Dinner on June 14, 2018 at the Ritz Carlton, Washington D.C.  For more information about the Collier Dinner, please click here.

Most Memorable Aviation Records of 2017 Announced

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.

Below is a chronological list of the most memorable records of 2017:

Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route, Miami, FL 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, IL. 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 mi
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, NV, 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-foot 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 August 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-foot 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, ID, averaging 532 mph. His flight on September 2 beat the previous record of 318 mph set in 2012.

Absolute Altitude: 52,221 feet
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 September 3 beat the previous record of 50,726 feet set in 2006.
Speed Over a Recognized Course, Farmingdale, NY 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 October 5, setting the fastest speed record of the year.

The Most Memorable Aviation Records along with other notable record achievements will be presented at the NAA Summer Awards Ceremony on May 16, 2018 at the Lockheed Martin Fighter Demonstration Center in Arlington, Virginia.  For more information about this event, please click here.

U.S. Indoor Skydiving Designated as NAA Air Sport Organization

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the official air sport authority in the United States, is pleased to announce that U.S. Indoor Skydiving has been named as the designated air sport organization (ASO) for the purposes of official Federation Aeronautique Internationale competitions and record attempts in the sport of indoor skydiving. U.S. Indoor Skydiving will work with the NAA, the International Parachute Commission, and the Federation Aeronautic International to further develop and advance this exciting air sport. 

U.S. Indoor Skydiving becomes the seventh recognized American ASO, along with the Academy of Model Aeronautics, Balloon Federation of America, International Aerobatic Club, Soaring Society of America, U.S. Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association and the U.S. Parachute Association. 

"We are very excited to lead the way on behalf of the United States." U.S. Indoor Skydiving interim executive director, Robert Pizzini, stated. "Our vision is to develop the sport by developing a robust youth program similar to other sports, manage the US National team, and establish a US National Training Center in order to prepare our athletes for the World Cup and World Championship." 

Adds NAA President Greg Principato, "With the explosive growth of indoor skydiving, both in the United States and around the world, we are very excited to work with Bob Pizzini and U.S. Indoor Skydiving to further advance the sport and attract ever greater numbers of participants, especially young people."

Changes Made to NAA Membership & FAI Sporting License Application Process

In March 2018, NAA implemented the following changes to the Membership and FAI Sporting License application process: 

1. All Membership and FAI Sporting Licenses applications must be submitted online.  Hard copy applications will no longer be accepted.  To apply for or renew a Membership and/or FAI Sporting License, please click here.

2. The processing time for all FAI Sporting License applications has been reduced to five (5) business days.  Applications submitted less than five (5) business days prior to a record attempt or competition may not be processed in time.

3. NAA will no longer mail hard copy Membership Cards and/or FAI Sporting Licenses.  Instead, upon approval of the application, an email will be sent containing the appropriate credentials attached.  Members can then print copies of their credentials as they see fit.

NAA hopes that these changes will streamline and enhance the Membership and FAI Sporting License application process.  We look forward to serving you!
NAA Contest & Records Board Member Inducted into the U.S. Soaring Hall of Fame

Brian Utley (center) and family.

NAA Contest & Records Board Member Brian Utley was inducted into the U.S. Soaring Hall of Fame on Saturday, May 5th in Elmira, New York.  Art Greenfield, Director of Contest & Records, NAA spoke at the induction ceremony, highlighting Utley's contributions and accomplishments while serving on the Contest & Records Board.

Born in Cottingham, York, Great Britain, Utley came to the U.S. in 1949, to live in Utah, became a citizen in 1954, and soon joined the Civil Air Patrol. He went to work for IBM as a Customer Engineer and was given assignments all over the world. Utley bought an Ercoupe and learned to fly, and following a move to California, began soaring. In 1972, Utley placed 14th in the National Soaring Championships in his first competition.

IBM then assigned Utley to Rochester, Minnesota in 1974 and at this time he was appointed to the Soaring Society Board of Directors, a position he would maintain until 1982. He planned the 1975 Region 7 Soaring Championships at Sleepy Eye, MN, where he won his class. He also set a record soaring from Sleepy Eye to St. Louis, a distance of 435 miles.   In 1977, he soared to over 30,000 ft over Pikes Peak, CO.

Utley was elected President of the Soaring Society of America in 1978. He returned to Minnesota in 2001 and was invited to join the National Aeronautic Association's Contest and Records Board in 2003, a position that he still holds today. As a member of the Contest and Records Board, he has served as an official observer for record attempts of all kinds, including around-the-world flights, speed and altitude records. Utley currently lives in Bloomington, Minnesota.
NAA Board Members Honored at Aviation Week's Laureates Awards Ceremony

For over 60 years, Aviation Week's Laureate Awards have recognized the extraordinary achievements of individuals and teams in aviation, aerospace, and defense. Their accomplishments embody the spirit of exploration, innovation and vision that inspire others to strive for progress, change and leadership in aviation and aerospace.

Several members of the NAA Board of Directors were honored at the Aviation Week Laureate Awards Ceremony on March 1, 2018 at the National Building Museum in Washington D.C.  Award recipients included:

Business Aviation: Leadership - Edward M. Bolen, President & CEO, National Business Aviation Association (NBAA)

In this role, Mr. Bolen created a broad coalition to represent the business aviation community's interests in a unified and forceful opposition to the transfer of federal control of the U.S. air traffic management system to a semi-private entity.

Dr. John S. Langford, Chairman and CEO, Aurora Flight Sciences

Dr. Langford's achievements range from leading the MIT Daedalus team that set human-powered flight records in 1988 to building Aurora Flight Sciences, the company he founded in 1989, into a world leader in autonomous flight. In 2017, Boeing moved to acquire Aurora for its expertise and Dr. Langford was named the next chairman of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Bruce Whitman, Chairman, President and CEO, FlightSafety International
Mr. Whitman is being honored for providing clear direction, support and management for his aviation training and simulator manufacturing company for over 50 years and by doing so helping to ensure the safety of thousands of air crews and passengers every day.

To view complete list of Aviation Week Laureate recipients, please click here.  Congratulations to all of the winners!
FAI Paul Tissandier Diploma Presented to Dick Ionata

From left to right: Gertrude Ionata, Richard Ionata, Rod Skaar, and Kris Maynard

Richard (Dick) Ionata was presented with the Paul Tissandier Diploma by Rod Skaar, Chairman, NAA Contest and Records Board, at his home in Washington state on April 7th.

The Tissandier Diploma is awarded "... to those who have served the cause of Aviation in general and Sporting Aviation in particular, by their work, initiative, devotion, or in other ways."

Ionata was appointed to the National Aeronautic Association's Contest and Records Board in 1997. The NAA Contest and Records Board serves as an independent authority in the administration, documentation, and certification of all record attempts sanctioned by NAA. In 2005, he became Vice Chairman of the Contest and Records Board, a position he still holds today.

During his 20-year tenure on the Contest and Record Board, Ionata has overseen many airplane record attempts including the non-stop, speed around world record set by Steve Fossett in the GlobalFlyer in 2005. His vast aviation expertise, which he acquired as a pilot in the United States Air Force and as a pilot for United Airlines, has allowed him to provide guidance and practical training to other members to become Official Observers.

Ionata is an FAA certificated Air Transport Pilot, with type ratings in the Boeing 727, 757, and 767, as well as the Learjet. In 1995, while employed as a United Airlines captain, he set three records for Speed Over a Commercial Airline Route. Those records, all set in the Boeing 767-300, still stand today:
Chicago to Paris: 632 mph
Paris to San Francisco: 535 mph
San Francisco to Paris: 592 mph


FAPA Pilot Job Fair & Future Pilot Forum

Washington, D.C. | Saturday, May 19, 2018

Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel
2800 South Potomac Ave, Arlington, Virginia 22202

FAPA Pilot Job Fair | 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

FAPA Pilot Job Fairs bring recruiters and job-seeking qualified pilots together. Retired pilots, separating military encouraged to attend as well. This is a separate event from the FAPA Future Pilot Forum. The Pilot Job Fair is for qualified, job-seeking pilots with more than 250 hours (rotor or fixed wing time) who wish to speak to recruiters.

Learn more and sign up for FREE at

FAPA Future Pilot Forum | 1:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

FAPA, the pilot career consulting company and its partners Piedmont Airlines, Envoy Air, Air Wisconsin and Pan Am Pilot Career Academy, are 'Building the Pilot Pipeline' TM by inviting aspiring pilots of all ages including career changers, students (and parents), separating military personnel and future pilots of all backgrounds - to FAPA Future Pilot Forums to learn about the pathways to a professional pilot career. School counselors are also encouraged to attend to also learn how to talk to students about professional pilot careers.

Attendees are invited to attend in person or to view portions of the event via on-demand video later for free. All attendees should pre-register for either format at

Upcoming Events

  Featuring the Most Memorable Aviation Records of 2017 & Other Notable Record Achievements  

May 16, 2018
Lockheed Martin Fighter Demonstration Center
2121 Crystal Drive, Arlington, VA 22202

Event Details:
    6:00 p.m. - Award Program
  Reception and flight simulator experience to follow awards program
 Business Attire
  Online Registration Open Through May 14th

Honoring the 2017 Collier Trophy Recipient
Cirrus Aircraft

June 14, 2018
1150 22nd Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20037

Event Details:
6:00 p.m. Cocktail Reception
7:00 p.m. Dinner & Award Program
Black Tie or Service Dress Equivalent
$225 Per Seat, $2,250 Per Table of 10
Online Registration Open Through June 8th

2018 Luncheon Series

April Luncheon

Dr. John Langford speaks to NAA members and guests at the April Luncheon.

NAA hosted its second luncheon of the year on April 17, 2018 in Washington D.C. with guest speaker Dr. John Langford, President & CEO, Aurora Flight Sciences and President-Elect, AIAA.   As a leader in advanced autonomous flight, Aurora Flight Sciences has helped shape this dynamic field.  Now a part of Boeing, Aurora is at the cutting edge of transformational technology that make aircraft smarter.  Dr. Langford gave his presentation "When Will My Air Taxi Arrive?" to a crowd of 80 NAA members and guests.

The next NAA luncheon will be held in September 2018, with an exact date to be announced.

NAA gratefully acknowledges the support of our 
2018 Luncheon Sponsors:  

Aerojet Rocketdyne, GE Aviation, Gulfstream, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Rolls-Royce North America, UTC/Pratt & Whitney, 
and Aurora Flight Sciences.

President's Message
Greg Principato, 
President & CEO, NAA

A bit over a year ago, Jean Tinsley passed away.  Jean was one of our Distinguished Statesman, but she was so much more than that.  Jean was a co-founder of the Helicopter Club of America, an Executive Director of the Whirly Girls, and an active member of the Ninety-Nines.  She was one of six pilots to compete on the first US team at the World Helicopter Championships, and later was a Chief Judge at the event.  Jean was the first woman in the world to obtain a gyroplane rating in a constant speed propeller driven gyroplane and the first woman to pilot the Bell XV-15 experimental Tilt Rotor aircraft. She has been a delegate to many international aviation conferences, including the International Rotorcraft Commission of the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale.  I could go on and on.
Not long after Jean passed away, we were informed that she remembered NAA in her estate, along with several other organizations with which she was involved.  What a wonderful way to keep her quite substantial legacy alive.
Later in the year when we received the funds, we immediately moved to make the best use of Jean's bequest.  We shared some of the funds with member Aero Clubs, which are often strapped for resources and which do such great work all over the country sharing their passion for aviation.  We used some of it to replenish the fund that helps support the NAA Distinguished Statesman program.  We used some of it to boost the Brewer Trophy program, since that is the nation's preeminent aviation education award.  And we used some to help fund a new base for the Mackay Trophy, which honors the most meritorious Air Force flight of the year.  We have designated what remains to use toward a website upgrade in the near future, to help us communicate with aviators and others, and to better fulfill our mission to promote aviation.
Jean did not put any restrictions on her gift, but we wanted to be sure that it was used in ways to promote our mission of spreading the joy and passion of aviation to as many people as we can.  I very much hope she would have approved, and all of us at NAA are eternally grateful for her consequential life, and for the way in which she has helped us continue work she very much believed in.
If anyone reading this would like to remember us in a similar way please let me know:  [email protected]

Air Sport Organization News
Turkey Named as the 2020 Host Country for the FAI World Air Games

Turkey will be the official host country for the FAI World Air Games 2020, according to a contract signed on February 14, 2018 by Kursat Atilgan, President of the Turkish FAI Member Türk Hava Kurumu (THK), and Frits Brink, President of the FAI, in Lausanne, Switzerland. 

Scheduled for September 2020, the Games will take place in some of the most iconic locations in Turkey, with the event split between Ankara, Antalya, Eskisehir, Efes/Selcuk, Ölüdeniz/Fethiye and Pammukale/Honaz.

The spectacular Opening Ceremony will take place in Turkey's cosmopolitan capital city Ankara, while the Closing Ceremony will be in the popular tourist destination of Antalya.

Kursat Atilgan, President of THK, said, "More than 2 billion people from around the world can reach the centrally located tourist destination of Turkey in under four hours flight, making it an excellent venue for the FAI World Air Games 2020.   We believe that holding the prestigious FAI World Air Games 2020 in Turkey will allow us to attract a younger generation of air sports fans, both within Turkey and worldwide."

The signing of the contract naming Turkey as the FAI World Air Games 2020 host country took place at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne.
This location reflects the FAI's status as an International Olympic Committee (IOC) Recognized Federation, and part of the Olympic Movement.

FAI President Frits Brink said, "It gives me great pleasure to sign this contract naming Turkey as the host country for the FAI World Air Games 2020.   A longstanding FAI Member, THK has a lot of experience in organizing air sports competitions, not least the very first FAI World Air Games in 1997.   I feel confident that the Federation will put on a fabulous show for the World Air Games - the biggest and most exciting event on the FAI calendar."

Now the agreement has been confirmed, preparations for the event will begin, with THK planning a round of investment to ensure facilities are of the highest standard.

Atilgan added, "Since being set up in 1925, THK has invested a lot in air sports infrastructures.   Over the next two years, we are planning to invest further. For example, by buying new equipment and creating new airfields for each sport."

For more information about the World Air Games, please click here.

FAI World Air Games contract signing at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland.

U.S. National Records for Gliders Presented at the 2018 SSA Awards Banquet

NAA President & CEO, Greg Principato presented two U.S. National Records for Gliders at the 2018 Soaring Society of America (SSA) Awards Banquet in Reno, Nevada on March 3, 2018.

Anthony B. Condon II accepted his record certificate for a record performance on May 5, 2017:

Class D, Standard, General
Straight Distance to a Goal
Hutchinson, KS to La Grange, TX
Schempp-Hirth Standard Cirrus, N10LA
537.28 miles (864.67 km)

Greg Principato (left) and Anthony Condon (right).

James M. Payne and Morgan Sandercock also accepted their record for flight on September 3, 2017:

Class DO, Open, Multiplace, General
Absolute Altitude
El Calafate, Argentina
Perlan 2, N901EE
52,221 feet (15,917 meters)

Greg Principato (left) with James Payne (center) and Morgan Sandercock (right).

Congratulations to all of the 2018 SSA Banquet award recipients!

Academy of Model Aeronautics News

Team USA Wins First Place at 2018 FAI F1D World Championship
Senior team member Brett Sanborn won the individual championship and the US team won first place in the team competition at the 2018 FAI F1D World Championship for Indoor Model Aircraft.

Pictured are the Senior team winners: USA (first), Romania (second), and the United Kingdom (third). AMA congratulates the event participants, volunteers, National Free Flight Society members, and the West Baden Springs Hotel, in West Baden, IN, for such an outstanding event!

For more information, please click here.

Celebrate National Model Aviation Day on August 11
Join the Academy of Model Aeronautics Foundation in celebrating model aviation for the sixth annual National Model Aviation Day, August 11, 2018. A national celebration of model flying and fun!
Show your support for our national celebration of model flying by wearing a National Model Aviation Day T-shirt and/or cap at your local event. This year's design is one of our favorite so far! Get yours early-merchandise sales ends on June 1.
For more information, please click here.


New Date and Location Set for AMA Expo West
Every year thousands plan to attend AMA Expo West, held in southern California. The Academy of Model Aeronautics is elated to announce that the next AMA Expo West is not only changing its date and location, but the event will be expanding as well. Join the Academy of Model Aeronautics for the new AMA Expo West November 2-4, 2018 at the Fairplex Exposition Center in Pomona, California. The show will bring back known vendors to share the latest products and components of the hobby, the AMA Expo speaker series, demo flying, and more. New features include drone racing, night flying, RC cars and trucks, a large boat pond, RC trains, and full-scale fly-overs! This is an event you won't want to miss!
For more information, please click here

United States Parachute Association News

May is Learn to Skydive Month!
This May, participating skydiving centers around the country are offering first-timers the chance to learn how to skydive-for free! The U.S. Parachute Association has proclaimed May as "Learn to Skydive Month." Throughout the month, participating skydiving centers will host "Learn to Skydive for Free" classes, which include the ground-training portion of a first-jump course, the first step toward a solo skydive. U.S. Parachute Association-certified instructor s will teach the course s , which include all the basics for jumping solo. Students will learn about equipment, aircraft, exiting, freefall, how to open and land a parachute, emergency procedures and more . Those who then decide to take the leap can pay for the air portion of the jump and receive additional hands-on training before doing a solo or tandem skydive. Additional information, along with a list of participating skydiving centers, is available  here.
In other skydiving news, a group of 26 women claimed a new world record for largest sequential head-down skydive by completing two formations on a single jump. The women set the record on February 9 over Skydive Sebastian in Florida on their first attempt. Red Bull sponsored the event in honor of International Women's Day in March.
A group of women set a head-down sequential world record with this two-point 26-way. Photo courtesy of Red Bull.

Aero Club News

Aviation Community Mourns the Loss of Fran Bera

Fran Bera in the pilot's seat in an undated photograph. 

Fran Bera's fascination with flight began when she took an airplane-themed carnival ride as a young girl in Michigan in the 1930s.

As a teenager she hitchhiked more than 30 miles to an airfield, where she worked odd jobs and saved for flight lessons. She earned her pilot's license at 16, and by 24, the youngest allowable age, she became a designated examiner, allowed to certify new pilots.

Ms. Bera went on to win more than a dozen air races. She set an unbroken National Aeronautic Association record for highest altitude attained in a twin-engine Piper Aztec, pushing that plane to an altitude better suited for a jet. And, she said, she once flew a small plane from California to Siberia on a whim.

Ms. Bera also oversaw more than 3,000 check rides, or licensing examinations, for new pilots, and in the 1980s stopped counting her flight hours after she had accumulated 25,000.

Leslie Day, a friend who hangared her plane near Ms. Bera's at Gillespie Field in El Cajon, California, outside San Diego, estimated in an interview that Ms. Bera had spent the equivalent of more than three years in the pilot's seat.

Ms. Bera last flew her white Piper Comanche 260 (decorated with pink and magenta stripes and the phrase "Kick Ass" stenciled on the fuselage) in January 2016, when she was 91.

She stopped flying when chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis and other health problems made clambering into the cockpit - getting to it by first climbing onto her plane's right wing - too arduous.

Ms. Bera died on February 10, 2018 at her home in San Diego after having a stroke, Ms. Day said. She was 93. Her death was not widely reported at the time.

She and Ms. Day were members together of the San Diego chapter of the Ninety Nines, an international group of female pilots whose first president was Amelia Earhart.

Ms. Bera was a consummate aviator, licensed to fly airplanes, helicopters and hot air balloons. She worked as a flight instructor, sold airplanes for Beechcraft and Piper and was a test pilot; in the 1960s, she flew an experimental helicopter with no tail rotor.

Female pilots were unusual when Ms. Bera started flying, in the 1940s, but breaking aviation boundaries came naturally for her.

"She said, 'It wasn't that I was a women's libber, it's that this is what I love to do and it's my calling,' " Ms. Day said.

At first glance, Ms. Bera did not necessarily fit the conventional image of a dashing pilot: She stood under 5 feet tall and often flew wearing a dress. But she was fearless and, when racing, highly competitive.

"There's different lines on the airspeed indicator," Ms. Day said. "You want to be in the green line; yellow line, you're pushing it, and red line is where you don't want to be. And she would always joke that she would always red-line her engine."
Ms. Bera's penchant for speeding contributed to seven wins, most of them during the 1950s, in the All Woman Transcontinental Air Race, better known as the Powder Puff Derby; and seven wins, most of them in the 21st century, in the Palms to Pines All Women's Air Race, in which participants flew from Santa Monica, Calif., to central Oregon.

In another race, from London to Victoria, British Columbia, in the early 1970s, Ms. Bera and her co-pilot rushed to refuel in Glasgow and get back in the air.

"It was so fast, my girlfriend accidentally popped her Mae West," Ms. Bera told The San Diego Union-Tribune in 2007, using World War II slang for an inflatable life jacket. "She flew across the Atlantic with it inflated. It was terrible."

Ms. Bera set her altitude record in 1966, climbing to 40,154 feet - so high that she needed to use bottled oxygen in the perilously thin atmosphere.

In 1993, she flew her Piper 235 Cherokee from California to Siberia "just for the fun of it," she told The Lakewood News of Lake Odessa, Mich., a local newspaper based near her hometown. Soon afterward she decided to upgrade to her swifter Comanche, explaining, "I'm getting older, I need to get places faster."

She was born Frances Sebastian to Elizabeth and Fred Sebastian, Hungarian immigrant farmers, on December 7, 1924, in Mulliken, Michigan. The youngest of eight children, she developed a passion for flying as a girl; she would sneak off to study aviation and take flight lessons without mentioning any of it to her parents. They learned about her flying, she said, when she needed their written permission to fly solo at 16.

After graduating from high school in Lake Odessa, Michigan, she sought to join the Women's Airforce Service Pilots, a unit, known as the Wasps, that flew military aircraft on noncombat missions during World War II. But she was rejected because of her height.

She became an adept parachutist, however, and after the war, when the military began selling off surplus aircraft, she flew planes to buyers around the country.

She also got a job as a flight school instructor near Grand Rapids, Michigan, and, in 1947, married Gordon Bera, the school's owner. They moved to Santa Monica in 1951. Though the marriage ended in divorce later that decade, Ms. Bera kept his surname even after remarrying twice.

Eudene McLin, her husband of nearly 50 years, died in 2016. She is survived by a stepdaughter, Jackie Bera; and a sister, Edna Baldwin.

Ms. Bera received numerous honors for her aerial feats, including a spot on the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum's Wall of Honor, a Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award from the Federal Aviation Administration and an Distinguished Statesman Award from the National Aeronautic Association.

But she said that the most gratifying part of her long career was still the sensation of being airborne.

"It still fascinates me after 65 years of flying," she said in 2007. "And I'm still learning."

Ms. Bera with her Piper Comanche 260 at a hangar in El Cajon, California. She last flew the plane in 2016, when she was 91.


Spring 2018


In This Issue
NAA News
Upcoming Events
2018 Luncheon Series
President's Message
Air Sport News
Aero Club News
Call for Nominations
Records Claimed
Contact NAA
Upcoming Events 
Summer Awards Ceremony

May 16, 2018
6:00 p.m.
Lockheed Martin Fighter Demonstration Center
Arlington, Virginia

Honoring the Most Memorable Aviation Records of 2017 and Other Notable Record Achievements

June 14, 2018
6:00 p.m.
Washington, D.C.

Honoring the Cirrus Aircraft Vision Jet
Call for Nominations

Nomination Period Open Though 
July 15, 2018

Nomination Period Open Through 
August 15, 2018

Nomination Period Open Through 
August 31, 2018

Nomination Period Open Through 
August 31, 2018

Nomination Period Open Through 
August 31, 2018
Show Your Support for NAA
  Order NAA merchandise

Membership Plaques
Baseball Caps
Polo Shirts
Leather Jackets
Duffle Bags
Cooler Bags
Stadium Blankets

For Record Holders:
National Certificate of Record
World Deplome de Record
Record Holder Pen

Records Claimed
December 1, 2017 -
February 28, 2018
FAI Smaller   

Speed Over a Recognized Course:
Johannesburg, South Africa to Lagos, Nigeria
503.94 mph*
Orin L. Lucas & 
Frederic G. Audebert
Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream G280
2 Honeywell HTF7250G
Lagos, Nigeria to Sal, 
Cape Verde: 495.91 mph*
Sal, Cape Verde to 
San Juan, PR: 425.33 mph*
Orin L. Lucas & 
Frederic G. Audebert
Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream G280
2 Honeywell HTF7250G
Keflavik, Iceland to 
Belfast, Northern Ireland: 375 mph
Travis P. Holland & 
Daniel R. McGee
Class C-1.e, Group III (Jet)
Honda Aircraft Company HA-420
2 GE Honda HF120
Greensboro, NC to 
Dubai, UAE: 160.13 mph*
Travis P. Holland & 
Daniel R. McGee
Class C-1.e, Group III (Jet)
Honda Aircraft Company HA-420
2 GE Honda HF120
Cedar Rapids, IA to 
Fort Myers, FL
195.46 mph*
David G. Lammers
Class C-1.c, Group I (Internal Combustion)
Van's RV-10
1 Lycoming IO-540
Melbourne, FL to 
Seattle, WA: 453 mph
Seattle, WA to 
Anchorage, AK: 472 mph
Pierce N. Brooks & Zachary M. Izzie
Class C-1.i, Group III (Jet)
Embraer Legacy 500
2 Honeywell HTF7500E

Singapore to Dubai, UAE: 525 mph
Raymond A. Wellington, Edward J. Faciszewski & Jason E. Kiefert
Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream GVII-G500
2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA
Dubai, UAE to 
Lagos, Nigeria: 482 mph
Raymond A. Wellington, Edward J. Faciszewski & Jason E. Kiefert
Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream GVII-G500
2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA
Lagos, Nigeria to Bridgetown, Barbados
469 mph
Bridgetown, Barbados to Savannah, GA: 504 mph
Raymond A. Wellington, Edward J. Faciszewski, Jason E. Kiefert & 
Harold R. Ball
Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream GVII-G500
2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA
Palm Beach, FL to 
Seville, Spain: 608.07 mph*
Ross D. Oetjen, 
Anthony J. Briotta & James T. Hicks
Class C-1.l, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream GVII-G500
2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA
Seville, Spain to Abu Dhabi, UAE: 631.80 mph*
Ross D. Oetjen,
Anthony J. Briotta & James T. Hicks
Class C-1.k, Group III (Jet)
Gulfstream GVII-G500
2 Pratt & Whitney Canada PW814GA


Speed Over an Out and Return Course of 500 km: 158 mph
Keith Essex
Class D15, General
Schleicher ASG 29 E
Omarama, New Zealand


Large Formation Sequential, Head-Down Orientation
26 skydivers, 2 formations
26-Way Team
Class G-2, Performance, Female
Sebastian, FL

Except where noted by an asterisk (*), information is preliminary and subject to approval.
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