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FAI badges




The purpose and aim of this program is to recognize at an international level, excellence in the sport of ballooning in the performance area.  Unlike the BFA Pilot Achievement Award Program (PAAP) or the BFA Longjump, the Sporting Badge program is a common set of tasks of progressive difficulty, which challenges the pilot on the full scope of balloon flight.  The pilot must demonstrate not only flying skills, but also planning, logistics, and documentation skills as well.  Since the requirements are common for all pilots in the world, the program is not as complex as the PAAP scheme, however the tasks are still challenging at each appropriate level for the pilot. It should be noted that with proper planning and preparation, a single flight can be used to satisfy the requirements of tasks in multiple programs at the same time.


The task requirements for the program at the various levels are shown below:


Level Distance Duration Altitude Goal
Silver 100 km 3 hours 3000 meters 10.00 meters
Gold 300 km 6 hours 6000 meters 1.00 meters
Diamond* - AX 500 km 12 hours 9000 meters 0.10 meters
Diamond* - BX 500 km 12 hours 9000 meters Not available
Diamond* -
All other aerostats
500km 24 hours 9000 meters 0.10 meters


Four silver performances or three gold performances qualifies for a silver badge 
Four gold performances or three diamond performances qualifies for a gold badge 
*Diamonds may only be added to a Gold Badge

** Gold with three diamonds is the highest level or badge awarded, even if the pilot has 4 diamonds.


Further details on the program as specified in the FAI Sporting Code, Section 1, Chapter 8 at the FAI website at under Sporting Code: Balloons and Airships.


One of the most significant changes compared to the PAAP for USA pilots is in the area of documentation.  In summary the required documentation level is between a pleasure or commercial flight and a record attempt, similar in many ways to the documentation level seen at the U.S. Nationals.  Since the skill demonstration is on an international level, the method of using observers and other independent means of verification of performance are an integral part of the claim procedure to ensure equal performance regardless of location.  The documentation and recording requirements are summarized below:

  • v  The pilot applicant must possess a valid NAA Sporting license at the time of the flight.
  • v  Launch and landing certifying statements must be obtained from the land owner or other independent (non-crew) source.  This can be the designated observer, however it is better to have someone else sign this statement attesting to the date, time, and location of the launch/landing point.
  • v  Altitude claims should be substantiated by at least two means that are independent of the aerostat altimeter and with at least one being independently calibrated, and verified post flight.
  • v  Complete the BFA-CIA Sporting badge claim form including the certification by the controlling observer.  This form can be used as a claim for a task within a given badge level.  This form and accompanying support documentation should be submitted to the BFA-FAI/CIA Sporting Badge Committee Chair or committee member for review and retention pending the completion of the remaining tasks needed for a full badge claim submittal to FAI. In the case of the Goal requirement, documentation fulfilling these requirements can e submitted by the Event Director and Scoring Officer of pre-qualified events (at the present time this is limited to the U.S. National Hot Air Balloon Championships) in the name of a pilot of he/she requests so.
  • v  Submit other documentation that is necessary to validate your claim along with your Sporting Badge application form. These include independent verification statements, photographs, independent data print outs, of other documents.  These documents support your claim when it is reviewed by the CIA Records committee that monitors and oversees the program at the FAI/CIA level.
  • v While it is not a requirement for sporting badges, but it is for world and national records, an aerostat envelope volume verification sheet is included in the forms on the website. If a pilot chooses to use it, as practice for some later planned attempt, it is acceptable, but will not be considered from the point of view of completeness (or lack of same) for a sporting badge flight claim application.

Upon successful completion of a particular task(s) and successful review by the BFA FAI/CAI Sporting Badge Committee, the task will be registered and noted on the BFA Register, a copy of which can be reached by a link at the top of this page.  When all the required tasks for a given badge level are completed the pilot applicant can fill out and submit a complete application and submit to the BFA FAI/CIA Sporting Badge Committee.  That application along with a letter of recommendation will be sent to the FAI office and the Records Committee for review and award.


The successful badge applicant will be entitled to receive a non-precious badge, designed to FAI/CIA specifications from the BFA.  If an applicant wishes to have the badge produced from a precious metal (i.e. gold/silver) this can be obtained on request to the CIA.  The cost of precious metal badges is borne by the pilot and must be done via an application form found on the CIA website under CIA Sporting Badge Order Procedures (2012). The full set of non-precious badges are shown below:


 FAI badges

Questions may be addressed to members of the BFA FAI/CIA Sporting Badge Committee listed below:



Rich Jaworski

1633 Lafayette Street

Blair, NE  68008



Dan Griffin

7935 Livingston Lane

Fort Collins, CO 80525-9370



Koh Murai (chair)

16927 NE Morelli Drive

Yamhill, OR 97148-8419



Mike Emich

1595 Juniata

Akron, OH 44305-1336