On this date in history, June 12, 1979, the first successful crossing of the English Channel in a human-powered aircraft took place. Bryan Allen flew the Gossamer Albatross across the English Channel powered only by the pilot pedaling a bicycle-like contraption that drove a large two-bladed propeller.
How long did it take to fly across the English Channel in the first human-powered aircraft?
2 hours 49 minutes
The Gossamer Albatross was designed and built by a team led by Paul B. MacCready, a noted aeronautics engineer, designer, and soaring champion. The Gossamer Albatross was his second human-powered aircraft. The Gossamer Condor, won the first Kremer prize on August 23, 1977 by completing a mile-long figure-eight course. The second Kremer challenge was then announced as a flight across the English Channel.
The Gossamer Albatross was constructed using a carbon fiber frame, with the ribs of the wings made with expanded polystyrene. The entire structure was then wrapped in a thin, transparent plastic. The empty weight of the airplane was only 71 pounds. To maintain the craft in the air it was designed with very long tapering, like those of a glider, allowing the flight to be undertaken with a minimum of power.
On June 12, 1979, piloted by amateur cyclist Bryan Allen, it completed the 22.2 mile crossing in 2 hours and 49 minutes, achieving a top speed of 18 mph and an average altitude of 5 feet.
Tonight we had a total of 31 people check into the Net and 4 had the correct answer to the Trivia Question. Since the chances of guessing the correct answer are pretty slim, I will give winning credit to anyone who had an answer within plus and minus 10 minutes (2h 39m to 2h 59m). Congratulations to:
- John – KD6JEV (2h 45m)
- Mark – W6MWL (2h 46m)
- Murray – WA6USL (2h 44m)
- Bob – KJ6UVT (2h 40m)
And a big thank you to everyone for supporting us by checking in to the Net.