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Site last updated by RMH
14 Aug 2015, 13:50

Colibri Badges and FAI Sporting Licenses

Most pilots are aware of competitions from the reports of the successes of the British Microlight Team and from the results of the British Microlight Championships published in Microlight Flying. However, fewer pilots are aware of the opportunities that exist to attempt national or world records or to obtain international recognition of their achievement in the form of a FAI Colibri Badge.

Colibri badges

The criteria for gaining a Colibri Badge are governed by the rules laid down in Section 10 of the FAI Sporting Code, chapter two. A 'Colibri' mean 'Hummingbird' in French, the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Diamond Colibri badges are international microlighting standards of achievement and most British microlight pilots are eligible for at least a Bronze Colibri, simply by virtue of the UK microlight pilot training system.

For example, to gain a Bronze Colibri you must have:

  • flown 20 hours solo, including 50 flights
  • made 3 precision landings, usually but not necessarily under power, touching down within 10 metres of a given point
  • made 1 precision landing from 1000 feet with the throttle closed, touching down within 20 metres of a given point
  • demonstrated a correct go-around procedure
  • completed two cross country flights of over 1 hour’s duration at cruise speed, one of which must include an outlanding

This can all be completed during training. For most pilots the only part that might cause a problem is the precision landing from 1000 feet at tickover, and that is something worth practicing anyway, just in case of an engine failure. In the case of two seat aircraft the landings may all be carried out with an instructor, who will afterwards certify that they were successful. Otherwise your instructor can witness your success from the ground.

Your reward is a FAI certificate, a smart but discreet lapel badge, and the satisfaction of having achieved an international aviation standard. Once you have your Bronze Colibri you will soon feel encouraged to go for your Silver, which, of course, is tougher. For paramotor pilots the Colibri is a useful international standard of achievement which may be helpful when flying abroad.

For further information get in touch with who promotes and manages the FAI Colibri Badge Award System in UK on behalf of BMAA.

FAI Licences
For FAI competitions and record attempts pilots (and crew) must hold a FAI Sporting Licence. This licence is not directly a certificate of competence, but is an authority by a National Aero Club that a pilot or co-pilot may represent them in FAI championships and World Record attempts. A co-pilot, for example, might not have a pilot licence, but can still hold a FAI licence. By signing it, the holder acknowledges knowing and understanding FAI rules and agrees to abide by them. FAI licences are only valid when endorsed for a particular airsport (in our case microlights and paramotors) and since the beginning of 2009 are registered centrally with FAI in Lausanne.

FAI licences run annually from January to December. Now there is a centralized database it is easy for them to be checked, so you must have a current one one to fly in microlight or paramotor international championships or to attempt microlight or paramotor records or you will not get a score or have a valid claim.

The BMAA issues these licenses, endorsed for microlights and paramotors, to its members under the authority delegated to it by the Royal Aero Club. BMAA will also endorse FAI licences for microlights and paramotors which were originally issued for other airsports by other RAeC member organizations (eg BHPA).

FAI licences should be sent to for renewal or send him a completed application form for a new issue. In both cases a minimum £10 donation should be made to the BMAA's competition fund in the online shop.

As with Colibri badges, paramotor pilots may find it useful to hold an FAI Sporting Licence when flying outside the UK.

Article originally written in 2008 for the British Microlight Aircraft Association's magazine Microlight Flying By Keith Negal. Updated 12 October 2009.