The Race

The World Solar Airship Race is a race for solar powered autonomous airships across the South Atlantic from South Africa to Brazil. The racers are student teams from universities from around the world. The Fédération Aéronautique International / World Air Sports Federation will observe and record the results. The first race will take place in 2025/26.

The Regulations

The Regulations for the race have not been finalized yet. The final version will be available only after the test flight is completed. However, we already know what elements should be developed:

The purpose of the race

The World Solar Airship Race is made to stimulate research into, and development of, sustainable air transport and is primarily a design competition. The regulatory philosophy is to provide student teams with the parameters on which to base the design, rather than specify exactly how to build a solar airship. Science and technology evolve and to encourage the most innovative ideas, event requirements also evolve. One important aspect of “sustainable” means the competing airships must use hydrogen as a lifting gas. Compared to helium, which today is seen as the only option for safety reasons, hydrogen is really the only long term sustainable solution for an industry of notable scale.


How to sign up, deadlines, fees, organizing committee, correspondence and more

Airship design regulations

The size, safety design features, operational features including the ground control, the pre-flight tests, the cost and more


A student team comprised of 6-10 engages in designing the winner. Students are designated to develop solutions to system components and the overall integration and design. They must also prepare for the competition with around the clock monitoring of the airship and the weather systems from their home base.

Take-off, flight and landing management
An event management team will take care of the framework for facilitating the event at Springbok and Natal.

Public regulations
The civil aviation authorities in both South Africa and Brazil must advice on the terms under which the competition can take place.

Racing rules

The FAI Sporting Code "Section 12 – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles" applies, for the following classification:

  • Subclass: U4 Aerostat
  • Category Weight: 25kg to less than 100kg
  • Group Propulsion: Electric
  • Types of Records: Distance in a straight line.
Start- and finish lines are defined as follows:
  • Start line: South Africa, Springbok, <exact position North East goes here>
  • Finish line: Brazil, Natal, <exact position North East goes here>

The fastest contestant crossing the finish line is eligible to claiming the FAI rated world record in above described classification.

Specific racing rules here, e.g. Hydrogen used as the lifting gas


The Fédération Aéronautique Internationale, FAI - The World Air Sports Federation, was founded in 1905.

It is a non-governmental and non-profit making international organisation with the basic aim of furthering aeronautical and astronautical activities worldwide, ratifying world and continental records and coordinating the organisation of international competitions. It is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

After a century of steady growth, FAI is now an organisation of more than 100 member countries, forming a strong network linking all those who participate in air sports worldwide.  FAI activities include the establishment of rules for the control and certification of world aeronautical and astronautical records. FAI establishes regulations for air sporting events which are organised by member countries throughout the world.