FAI - Fédération Aéronautique Internationale


Serbia & Montenegro – 14 October 2005

100th Anniversary of FAI. The stamps show some of the sport disciplines promoted and developed by FAI.

At the start of the 20th century, considering the proliferation of aeronautical competitions and increasingly rapid technological advances, a small group of men recognized the growing need for an international federation to coordinate the aeronautical activity. On 10 June 1905, Count Henry de la Vaulx, Vice-President of the Aero-Club of France, Major Moedebeck of the German Airship League and Fernand Jacobs, President of the Aero-Club of Belgium, gave a presentation to the Olympic Congress held at Brussels on their proposal to create a Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. The Delegates received the idea warmly, and to demonstrate its support, the Olympic Congress adopted the following resolution on the same day : “This Congress, recognizing the special importance of aeronautics, expresses the desire that in each country, there be created an Association for regulating the sport of flying and that thereafter there be formed a Universal Aeronautical Federation to regulate the various aviation meetings and advance the science and sport of Aeronautics." An international aeronautical conference was held in Paris from 12 to 14 October 1905 under the chairmanship of Prince Roland Bonaparte (grand nephew of Napoléon Bonaparte and 6th Prince of Canino and Musignano, 1858-1924). This conference was attended by eight founding members in two continents: Germany, Belgium, Spain, United States, France, Great Britain, Italy and Switzerland, which created on 14 October 1905 the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI - World Air Sports Federation, also named International Aeronautical Federation), as an international non-governmental non-profit organization.


The FAI comprises the following bodies:

  1. The General Conference, the supreme policy-making body, which adopts FAI Statutes and By-Laws, i.e. the foundation stones of the FAI.
  2. The Executive Board, principal executive body of FAI, responsible for implementing the decisions of General Conference and directing the day-to-day operation of the FAI.
  3. Twelve Air Sport Commissions representing, in addition to the General Commission, all 11 air sport disciplines under FAI control: aerobatics, aeromodelling, amateur-built and experimental aircraft, astronautics records, ballooning, general aviation, gliding, hang-gliding and paragliding, microlights and paramotors, parachuting, rotorcraft.
  4. Two technical Commissions which control non-sporting activities: medico-physiological and environmental matters.


The FAI’s principal aims are to validate and catalogue the best performances achieved in the air so that they be known to everybody; to identify their distinguishing features so as to permit comparisons. It stimulates private aviation, aviation sport and air touring at world and continental levels. Ever growing, FAI is now an organisation of some 100 member countries; the development of national aero-clubs and associations symbolizes the progress of international civil aviation; FAI is the world sports federation. The FAI is organized with several Air Sports and Technical Commissions.


Over one-hundred years old, faithful to the decisions of its founding fathers, but also because the principles then established remain valid, the FAI's Statutes still reflect the objectives defined in 1905. However, the appearance of new technologies and modern equipment, and the birth of entirely new air sport disciplines have meant that the FAI's sphere of involvement has broadened and continues to expand. New objectives are adopted to reflect developments in society and in the aspirations of those who practice air sports. In 1999, the FAI headquarters moved from Paris to Lausanne, the Olympic Capital.


FAI Prior emblem


FAI Current emblem

The FAI General Conference is scheduled to be held once per year. There were several Extraordinary Conferences in the early years of the FAI; however, no Conference could be held during the two world wars. In 2005, the FAI celebrated its centenary with 98th General Conference held in Paris, France, from 12 to 14 October 2005.


FAI’s prior logo consisted of a stylised eagle with outspread wings standing on a sphere denoting the world with "FAI" in capital letters; it may be displayed in one of several colours and embellished by the rainbow in full circle or part of a circle. The rainbow (with red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet and purple) symbolises the historical link provided by FAI between heaven and earth.


The FAI introduced a new logotype on 1 July 2004. This new logo was created with the intention of providing a unifying symbol, a graphical representation of community, harmony and balance. Conserving the best elements of the traditional symbol of an eagle grasping the earth, it was adapted to meet the modern requirements of a future-oriented federation with new ambitions. The symbol is confident and dynamic, and projects the prestige of a long tradition. The colours used for the FAI logotype are blue and gold. Blue symbolizes the sky, the vast arena in which we fly; it evokes feelings of calm serenity, and inspires dreams of freedom such as those that motivated the great aviation pioneers, who needed courage, determination, creativity and inspiration to achieve their objectives. As for gold, this colour conjures up the prestige of FAI, the dynamism of air sports and the link with technology.


In December 1961, the second Edward Warner Award was bestowed by the Council of ICAO on the FAI for its notable contributions towards the development of air navigation as well as the facilitation of international flights through the removal of barriers to air travel. By stimulating the spirit of competition and by promoting aviation knowledge, it has fostered the formation of an air minded public. Represented at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), FAI takes an active part in the decision-making process relating to flight safety, pilot training and licensing, and air space regulations.





FAI 1930 Conference lapel pin; one piece stamped brass art deco style wings with gold letter text "FAI" on center blue inverted equilateral triangle; gold letter text "1903 CONFERENCERE PARIS 1930" on blue enamel bar above wings.





FAI 1932 La Haye Conference commemorative lapel pin; F.A.I winged gas balloon logo depicted in the center of the pin with a light blue enamel center disc surrounded by a blue ring and surmounted by a crown; gold letter text "KNVvL" on blue ring; center logo surrounded by a white enamel ring with gold letter text "FÉDERATION AÉRONAUTIQUE INTERNATIONALE • LA HAYE 1932 •".

KNVvL is the abbreviation for the Koninklijke Nederlandse Vereniging voor de Luchtvaart, the Royal Dutch Aviation Association (i.e. the association for light aviation); its emblem is depicted here at the left side.


The 33rd General Conference of the FAI (named on the stamps: International Aviation Congress) was held from 20 to 23 December 1933 at the Héliopolis Palace Hotel, Cairo. In addition to the official discussions relating to the General Conference, the program of this Conference included sporting events (e.g. air meeting, race speed, tests of landing), excursions and festivals in Cairo, scheduled from 19 to 29 December 1933.


The cachet of the above cover shows the Wright’s Flyer Model A aircraft, built between 1907 and 1909. It was the first two-seat aircraft in which the occupants sat upright. Orville Wright sits in the passenger seat (on the right of the pilot), while his brother Wilbur is adjusting controls. In this model, a new control system would allow the pilot to operate all controls by means of two levels, as shown on the picture.

The stamp on the cover was issued in 1978 by Bophuthatswana for the 75th anniversary of the first powered flight by the Wright Brothers; on its right-side, one can read ICAO’s full name.


In 1979, the FAI held its 72nd General Conference in Nicosia, Cyprus. The above first day cover was issued on this occasion in collaboration with the Cyprus Aero Club and shows the stamp issued by Cyprus in 1978 for the 75th anniversary of the Wright Brothers’ flight; this stamp bears the emblem of ICAO.


1995 - Date-Stamp Card issued by South Africa for the 90th anniversary of the FAI and the 88th General Conference held in Sun City, South Africa.


Service cover sent to ICAO – Postmarked on 6 November 1995.