Want to set a record-breaking flight? You’ll need an observer from the National Aeronautic Association.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- Air & Space magazine, January 2012
(Page 2 of 2)
A&S: Since you’re in charge of the records, do you get first dibs on witnessing attempts?
Greenfield: I can’t say yes to that, because I’d have 10 other people who would be upset if I did! When we assign the observer we try to find someone with expertise in that particular area, and also we want to make sure that the observer is independent and doesn’t have an interest in the record that’s being attempted.
A&S: About the city-to-city records: Why do you think they’re so popular? Is it an easier record to break?
Greenfield: I think, generally speaking, it can be done over a normal, fairly routine flight with a little extra planning, and probably that’s the reason.
A&S: What sort of time commitment is it? When you went to witness the Fredericksburg flight, how long did that take?
Greenfield: It varies considerably depending on the attempt. That particular one was a half-day commitment because it was so close, just down the road. Other ones can be several days, maybe even a week. Just depending on the type of record attempt. When the University of Maryland was trying for the human-powered helicopter flights, they made attempts over several days.
A&S: Did they make the record?
Greenfield: The first claim we approved was set back in May. It was approved, and that’s now being approved by [parent organization] Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Then they made, in July, a second attempt, and made a claim, and we have not yet approved it. We’re still reviewing it, so it’s in process.
A&S: What goes into the reviewing process?
Greenfield: This particular one is a bit different, simply because we don’t have much activity in that area. This was recorded with video cameras.
A&S: So it takes as long to review it as it did to set the record?
Greenfield: In this case, yeah, it will take a bit longer, going through those records. This one is a little unusual in that regard. Luckily I didn’t have to watch 18 hour and 25 minute flight for Mr. Ebneter.