Aviation's earliest pioneers set world records at some point in their lives — pilots such as the Wright brothers, Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart.
Aviators are still setting records, and it's the job of the National Aeronautic Association to certify them.
Wichita has had a big role in record-setting.
Of the 6,466 world records, 22 percent, or more than 1,400, were made in Wichita-built aircraft, National Aeronautic Association president Jonathan Gaffney told members of the Wichita Aero Club on Tuesday.
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The association is the official record keeper for U.S. aviation, Gaffney said. It provides observers for many of the attempts and compiles the data needed to sanction them, Gaffney said.
Dozens of records are established every year. National and world records can be set for speed, altitude and distance.
Many records are set by the planemakers for marketing purposes, Gaffney said. That includes Wichita's Cessna Aircraft, Hawker Beechcraft and Bombardier Learjet.
Gaffney recognized Hawker Beechcraft and Cessna during the meeting for records set last year.
Hawker Beechcraft set a speed record flying from Farmington, N.Y., to Shannon, Ireland, in a Hawker 4000.
And Cessna Aircraft set an around-the-world speed record flying eastbound in a Citation CJ2.
Some records are so spectacular that they can't be beat, Gaffney said, such as when the Voyager flew around the world nonstop without refueling — a distance of nearly 25,000 miles.
The NAA also certifies records set in spacecraft, gliders, parachutes, helicopters, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles and other vehicles, Gaffney said.
One of the biggest challenges in setting a record is making sure everything is in place.
"You get stopped once by customs or whatever and you're done," Gaffney said.
The NAA also presents some of the industry's most prestigious awards, such as the annual Robert Collier Trophy, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the Katherine Wright Trophy and other awards.