Hand Built, Human Powered Plane

A Canadian university student at the University of Toronto, Todd Reichert, made history by piloting a human powered wing-flapping plane. Leonardo DiVinci dreamed of this thousands of years ago but these students were the first to do it successfully. In order to fly the plane, the pilot had to pedal with his legs all while pulling on the wings to flap at the same time. All this had to be done fast enough to get off the ground. The plane, named Snowbird,  was made from carbon fiber, balsa wood, and foam and was flown for 19.3 seconds, covering 475.72 feet. In order to prep for the flight, Todd went through a year long exercise program to lose 18 pounds. Now that is some commitment to get the plane into the air. The problem of flapping-wing flight has been tackled by countless engineers and craftsmen, but until recently only moderate success had been achieved. This student engineered and built plane was the first to complete it successfully.

More information about this flight can be seen at http://hpo.ornithopter.net/

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