When news happens, text BAZ and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Birdmen take flight at Lasham
BIRDMEN took to the skies around Lasham Airfield as part of a competition to promote human-powered flight.
Five teams took part in the inaugural Icarus Cup, organised by the Royal Aeronautical Society, which saw pilots on bicycle-powered planes fly for up to 1,250 metres.
In 1961, the Hampshire airfield was the site of the first human-powered flight by Derek Piggott, a postgraduate aeronautical engineer at Southampton University.
Emma Bossom, head of conferences at the Royal Aeronautical Society, said the competition had been a success, with all five teams getting their aircraft off the ground.
She said: “We were seeing attempts every 10 to 20 years so we wanted to bring people together and encourage the advancement of ideas and the development of people’s aircraft.
“There was quite a difference in designs – that was one of the fantastic things about the competition.”
The competitors had to test their aircraft in a number of tasks, including races over distances including 200m and 1km, and a 500m slalom. Some of the aircraft managed to reach a height of 5m, and the longest flight lasted one minute 53 seconds for a distance of 1,250m.
The winning team was P&M Aviation, based in Marlborough, Wiltshire. Its aircraft Airglow had a wingspan of 25m and an empty weight of 35.7kg.
One of the team’s pilots Robin Kraike won the individual Icarus Cup. Other teams included Salisbury-based aircraft developer Aeroelvira, Bath University, Southampton University and David Barford, a Formula 1 engineer.
Dr Bill Brooks, chairman of the society’s Human Powered Aircraft Specialist Group, hopes human-powered flight will take-off as a sport.
He said: “As designs progress, it has become less necessary for the pilot to be a highly-trained athlete – anyone is a potential pilot. This competition marks the start of a new era of sport aviation and we hope to encourage wider participation in human-powered flying.”