MAcCready Gossamer Albatross

The Grossamer Albatross captured headlines in 1979 when it made the first human-powered fligh across the English
Channel. Designed hy American engineer Dr Paul MacCready, the aircraft used pedal-power to drive its large, two-bladed propeller. Appropriately, it was piloted by an amateur cyclist, Bryan Allen, who made the 22 miles and 453 yards crossing in two hours and 49 minutes, at a top speed of 19mph and an average altitude of just 5 feet.
The fragile craft resembled a giant dragonfly skimming the waves, its very long, tapering wings, spanning some 97 feet, allowing it to fly with minimal power. The craft was constructed using Mylar over a carbonfibre
frame, while the wing structure incorporated expanded polystyrene ribs.
The Gossamer Albatross was MacCready’s second human-powered aircraft (HPA). His first was the Gossamer Condor, winner of the first Kremer prize in 1977 for completing a specified one-mile figure-of-eight course. MacCreadv then turned his attention to Kremer’s £100.000 prize for a human-powered flight across the English Channel. The Grossamer Albatross first flew at Shafter. California, in July 1978. Testing and refinement continued before the aircraft was taken to England. At 5.51am on 12 June 1979 Allen took off at the foot of the cliffs near Dover and pedalled into history.

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