Icarus’ Goal still drives Humans “to break the Surly Bonds of Earth” fn1

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ARTICLE: The Improbable Pedal-Powered Flying Machines
fn1 credit “high Flight” by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. 1941

The original invention is a story about two boys’ quest to do the impossible and even they said the task could not be done. Their actions inspired an industry and generations of innovation. It is always the possibility that the business will mature.

The competition called the Icarus Cup is a challenge for human-powered-aircraft competition, which derives its aegis from the mythical Greek pursuit of flight powered by a human. The modern version is described in the above linked story and the specific tale is a team called “Betterfly.” It is composed of the 73-year-old father, Paul; David, his son; and two from the third generation (David’s offspring), Charlotte and Chris as well as a friend. The successor to the Gossamer Albatross was able to navigate the 656-foot course in 42 seconds.

Is it likely that this esoteric, exotic test will generate anything relevant to mainstream aviation? Maybe, maybe not. The pursuit of advances, from the Apollo to Burt Rutan ’s fleet of composite aircraft, seem to generate elements or inventions which have applicability from kitchen ware to miniaturized communications, to new structural materials.

Good luck Betterfly and the Icarus Cup. If nothing else, your efforts will inspire all humans and those of us who still marvel at the incredible nature of flight.

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