World’s First Successful Human-Powered Ornithopter Takes Flight

Recommended Videos

A doctoral engineering student at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Todd Reichert, has built and successfully flown the world’s first working human-powered ornithopter, which is a machine that flies by flapping its wings. Building it to work via a human pedaling it like a bicycle, however, is what makes Reichert’s achievement so neat. Check out the video after the jump.

The human-powered ornithopter has made various appearances in old inventors’ journals, past visions of what future transportation may be like, and even in Futurama.

Reichert’s ornithopter, dubbed the “Snowbird,” composed of carbon fiber and balsa wood, has a 105-foot wingspan and only weighs 94 pounds. He powers the Snowbird by pedaling with his legs, while pulleys and ropes attached to the pedals flap the wings. The Snowbird flew for 19.3 seconds at 16 miles per hour.

HPO The Snowbird from U of T Engineering on Vimeo.

Might this achievement of pedaling to obtain flight signal doom for boring, old land-bicycles now that Reichert invented air-bicycles?

(The Toronto Star via PopSci via Neatorama)


The Mary Sue is supported by our audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Learn more
related content
Read Article ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson in ‘Her’ Shut Down Following Backlash
joaquin phoenix wearing glasses with a mustache in her
Read Article Surprising No One, All 3,878 of Elon Musk’s Cybertrucks Are Being Recalled
Elon Musk during a T-Mobile and SpaceX event
Read Article ‘Mamma Mia!’ Star Sara Poyzer Says a BBC Production Replaced Her With AI
Sara Poyzer performs at the Magic at the Musicals event in 2019
Read Article In Moment of Unbelievable Irony, Midjourney Accuses Stability AI of Image Theft
Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man, who is pointing back.
Read Article Elon Musk May Be the Lesser of Two Evils in This Legal Battle With OpenAI
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala
Related Content
Read Article ChatGPT Voice That Sounds Like Scarlett Johansson in ‘Her’ Shut Down Following Backlash
joaquin phoenix wearing glasses with a mustache in her
Read Article Surprising No One, All 3,878 of Elon Musk’s Cybertrucks Are Being Recalled
Elon Musk during a T-Mobile and SpaceX event
Read Article ‘Mamma Mia!’ Star Sara Poyzer Says a BBC Production Replaced Her With AI
Sara Poyzer performs at the Magic at the Musicals event in 2019
Read Article In Moment of Unbelievable Irony, Midjourney Accuses Stability AI of Image Theft
Spider-Man pointing at another Spider-Man, who is pointing back.
Read Article Elon Musk May Be the Lesser of Two Evils in This Legal Battle With OpenAI
Elon Musk at the 2022 Met Gala