Icarus Cup Achieves New Records

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Doing more with much less, British pilots at this year’s Icarus Cup follow in Paul MacCready’s aerial path, staging a highly successful weeklong demonstration of human-powered flight.  Airplanes that fly on about a quarter-kilowatt for as long as the human battery can operate the pedals are not new, and significant records have been achieved over the years. The British have long been involved, beginning with the 590 meters flight by Derek Piggott on November 9, 1961 in SUMPAC (Southampton University’s Man Powered Aircraft – note the sexist terminology of the day).  This was considered the first authenticated takeoff and flight by a human powerplant.  He made 40 flights before suffering a crash that damaged a wing. To help foster interest …

2015 British Human Powered Flying Club Rally

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Human-powered flight is about as green as it gets, although the pilot/powerplant does emit CO2 and some methane during the exercise.  A human pilot can put out only about 0.25 to 0.5 horsepower for reasonable periods, with the record holders like Brian Allen flying The 70-lb Gossamer Albatross in its 26-mile cross-channel flight in 2 hours, 49 minutes,.and Olympic cyclist Kanellos Kanellopoulos of Greece flying 71.5 miles between Crete and Santorini in 3 hours, 54 minutes on April 23, 1988.  The flight holds the official FAI world records for total distance, straight-line distance, and duration for human-powered aircraft. The British Human Powered Flying Club holds a gathering of the hopeful every year, this year at Lasham Airfield, between London and Winchester.  Depending on how one …

52 Years of Human-Powered Flight

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

This year’s Icarus Cup, a human-powered flight competition, was held at Sywell Aerodrome, about 75 miles and nearly two hours north of London.  The Royal Aeronautical Society hosted the first Icarus Cup last year, and explains its origins and purpose.  “In 2011, we commemorated the 50th anniversary of the first flight by a human powered aircraft. The origins of human powered flight begin in 1959, when the Royal Aeronautical Society Human Powered Aircraft Specialist group was formed. Two years later, November 1961 marked the first human powered flight by Derek Piggott. Since then, human powered aircraft enthusiasts have been competing for the Society’s Kremer Prizes . “One of the Human Powered Aircraft Group’s objectives is to promote human powered flight as a sport …