At the start of the 20th Century, the pioneering flights of pilots such as Clement Ader, the Wright Brothers and Santos-Dumont, the proliferation of aeronautical competitions, and increasingly rapid technological advances marked the real birth of the modern aviation era.
A small group of men recognized the growing need for an international federation to coordinate and give direction to the rapidly growing aeronautical activity.
On 10 June 1905, Count Henri 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 of Brussels on their proposal for a « Fédération Aéronautique Internationale ». The delegates received the idea warmly, and in token of its support the Olympic Congress adopted thefollowing resolution:« 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. »
On 12 October 1905, an international aeronautical conference was convened in Paris. After two days of debate, the representatives of Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and the USA adopted the entire package of proposed Statutes. The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale was founded on 14 October 1905. From its inception, the FAI defined its principal aims as being to« methodically catalogue the best performances achieved, so that they be known to everybody; to identify their distinguishing features so as to permit comparisons to be made; and to verify evidence and thus ensure that record-holders have undisputed claims to their titles. » The statutes also specified that each body holding sporting powers (i.e. the national members of FAI) should retain full and autonomous control over its own affairs.
More than 100 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.
An international, non-profit-making, non-governmental organisation, the FAI’s main aim is the development throughout the world of sport aviation and astronautical activities.
Under the current Statutes, the FAI President is elected for a maximum of three two-year terms. This page presents the history of FAI presidents since the federation was founded in 1905.
Since 2016 : Frits Brink (Netherlands)
2010 – 2016 : Dr. John GRUBBSTROM (Sweden)
2004 – 2010 : Pierre PORTMANN (Switzerland)
2000 – 2004 : Wolfgang WEINREICH (Germany)
1994 – 2000 : Eilif J. NESS (Norway)
1992 – 1994 : Dr. Hanspeter HIRZEL (Switzerland)
1990 – 1992 : Olavi A. RAUTIO (Finland)
1988 – 1990 : Clifton F. von KANN (USA)
1986 – 1988 : Georges Alfred « Peter » LLOYD, AO, OBE (Australia)
1984 – 1986 : Cenek KEPAK (Czechoslovakia)
1982 – 1984 : Amos ISHAI (Israel)
1980 – 1982 : Prince Antoine de LIGNE (Belgium)
1978 – 1980 : Desmond Percy KELLY (Australia)
1976 – 1978 : Adolph (« Pirat ») GEHRIGER (Switzerland)
1974 – 1976 : Col. Bernard DUPERIER (France)
1972 – 1974 : André Olivier DUMAS (Canada)
1970 – 1972 : Fred FORRER (Switzerland)
1969 – 1970 : Prof. E. WEGELIUS (Finland)
1967 – 1969 : Hofrat Josef GAISBACHER (Austria)
1966 – 1967 : Vladimir K. KOKKINAKI (USSR)
1964 – 1966 : Mauricio OBREGON (Colombia)
1962 – 1964 : Dr. W. MURI (Switzerland)
1960 – 1962 : Jacques ALLEZ (France)
1958 – 1960 : Miss Jacqueline COCHRAN (USA)
1956 – 1958 : Général Av. Charles SILLEVAERTS (Belgium)
1954 – 1956 : Capt. K.J.G. BARTLETT (UK)
1952 – 1954 : Cornelio KOLFF (Netherlands)
1950 – 1952 : Baron A. de la GRANGE (France)
1948 – 1950 : William R. ENYART (USA)
1946 – 1948 : Lord BRABAZON of TARA (UK)
1942 – 1946 : Godfrey L. CABOT (USA)
1930 – 1941 : Prince Georges Valentin BIBESCO (Romania)
1925 – 1930 : Comte Henri de la VAULX (France)
1905 – 1925 : Prince Roland BONAPARTE (France)
FAI Secretaries General
Under the current Statutes, the Secretary General is appointed by the Executive Board. He is the managing director of FAI and head of the FAI Headquarters staff.
This page presents the history of FAI Secretaries General since the federation was founded in 1905.
2014 – : Susanne SCHÖDEL (Germany)
2011 – 2013 : Jean-Marc BADAN (Switzerland)
2010 – 2011 : Stéphane DESPREZ (France)
1993 – 2010 : Max BISHOP (United Kingdom)
1987 – 1992 : Cenek KEPAK (Czechoslovakia)
1981 – 1986 : Bertrand LARCHER (France)
1963 – 1980 : C. E. HENNECART (France)
1951 – 1962 : H. R. GILLMANN (France)
1947 – 1950 : Jean BLÉRIOT (France)
1946 : Felix CAMERMANN (France)
1913 – 1945 : Paul TISSANDIER (France)
1909 – 1912 : Comte de CASTILLON DE SAINT-VICTOR (France)
1905 – 1908 : Georges BESANÇON (France)