Tissandier began his flying career as a hot air balloon pilot and later moved to airships and finally to airplanes. He was a pilot-pupil of Wilbur Wright. Together with Count Charles de Lambert, he was involved in the construction of hydro-gliders.
Paul Tissandier Diploma
The Paul Tissandier Diploma is a perpetual international award established in 1952 by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale in memory of Tissandier who was Treasurer of the FAI from its foundation to 1919 and its Secretary General from 1913 to 1945. The diplomas are awarded to those persons who have served the cause of aviation and private and sporting aviation in particular, by their work, initiative, devotion or other endeavours.
Each Aero club which is a member of FAI may recommend a number of deserving candidates for the diploma each year; the U.S. is allowed three. The recipients are confirmed by the FAI Administrative Council and publicly announced and the Diplomas are awarded at the annual FAI General Conference.
Notable recipients include:
- Alessandro Bianchi - Italian Minister for Transportation.
- Walter J. Boyne - US Air Force combat veteran.
- Lynn Garrison - Canadian aviator and mercenary.
- Nick Goodhart - British world gliding champion, record breaker and engineer
- Jerzy Makula - Polish world glider champion.
- Yves Rousseau - French aviation pioneer.
- Kathy Sutton - Canadian world sky diving champion.
- Roger Poncelet - a third-generation Belgian wooden aeroplane and propeller manufacturer.
- Dr. Nabil Baz - Egyptian aviator who won the award for his contribution to aviation and air sports in Egypt.
- Svetlana Kapanina - a Russian aerobatic pilot
- Stewart Wood - President Experimental Aircraft Association of South Africa 1992 - 2002