Home Eco Friendly Guide U of T student successfully pilots human-powered ornithopter

U of T student successfully pilots human-powered ornithopter

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A bird flapping its wings to take a long continuous flight is no big deal, but an aircraft doing the same certainly is. The “Snowbird,” a human-powered aircraft does just that. This eco-friendly aircraft flies by flapping its wings like a bird. Brainchild of Todd Reichert, a student from the University of Toronto, this ornithopter is made from carbon fiber, foam and balsa wood.


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Imitating the flying machine design sketched by legendary inventor Leonardo Da Vinci back in 1485, the Snowbird works by pumping a set of pedals attached to pulleys and lines that bring down the wings in an elegant flapping motion. Weighing just under 43 kilograms with a wing span of 32 meters, this innovative craft successfully completed its first flight in Tottenham, Ontario by sustaining both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, covering a distance of 145 meters at an average speed of 25.6 km/h.

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Taking help from James DeLaurier, a retired Institute for Aerospace Studies professor who is one of the world’s leading experts on ornithopters and his colleague Cameron Robertson, Reichert took over four years to make this $200,000 worth aircraft.

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Via: Inhabitat