A group of University of Toronto students has just announced that a flight of their human-powered flapping-wing aircraft, The Snowbird, on August 2 may have set an FAI record with a “first ever” flight for its kind. The group believes that after being towed aloft, the aircraft maintained speed and altitude for 19.3 seconds and covered approximately 145 meters while flying at 25.6 km/h. During that time, it was powered solely by its pilot and designer, U of T engineering Ph.D. candidate Todd Reichert, who estimates he’s capable of about 0.3 horsepower. Reichert believes his team’s effort represents the first ever sustained flight of a human-powered ornithopter. The FAI ruling committee (the record keepers) is expected to offer its opinion in October.
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