Home Medical Factors Facing Pilots Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Aviation News Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics General Aviation Helicopters
Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Links To Other Sites Editorials Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Upcoming Events Editorials


Human Powered Composite Aircraft To Take To The Sky At Sywell Aerodrome, UK
By Shane Nolan

July 17, 2013 - Teams of engineers, who have spent the last few months preparing and finalizing design and construction plans, will put their aircraft to the ultimate technical test by competing in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Icarus Cup for Human Powered Aircraft.  

Saturday July 20, will see the first session of flying at Sywell Aerodrome in Northampton when five teams from across the country will see their aircraft take to the skies powered solely by human energy. Pilots will compete against each other in a series of tasks to test the pilot’s speed, endurance, flight accuracy skills and technical ability. 

A small aircraft weights 12,500 lbs or less with wingspan of more than 33 feet, so the advancement of composite and lightweight materials and the development of control technologies have revolutionized aircraft construction techniques. 


Composite materials (also called composition materials or shortened to composites) are materials made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties, that when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure. The new material may be preferred for many reasons: common examples include materials which are stronger, lighter or less expensive when compared to traditional materials. 

Control of a slow flying, lightweight airplane demands a high degree of skill as well as a pilot who can generate sufficient power to take off and stay airborne. The AHS Sikorsky Prize has only recently been won by a team of engineers at the University of Toronto after more than 30 years of design attempts. 

The concept of a human powered flight competition first came about as a way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human powered flight, when Derek Piggott flew Sumpac, Southampton University’s Man Powered Aircraft, back in 1961. Dr Bill Brooks FRAeS, chairman of the Society’s Human Powered Flight Group, said, “We felt it was important to bring together leading technical experts and aviation enthusiasts to discuss the advances in design, methods and materials in order to encourage wider participation in human powered flying.”



The first Icarus Cup competition was held in 2012 at Lasham Airfield in Hampshire when five teams and their craft spent the week flying and exchanging specialist knowledge and information. This year, the competition has progressed to be classed as a category 2 national event by the FAI, the World Air Sports Federation, and is supported by Breitling, who have a strong association with aviation and air sports. Flying will take place at Sywell Aerodrome each morning and evening between the hours of 6:00 – 9:00 AM and 7:00 – 10:00 PM from July 20 - 27. The final flying session will be on the morning of Sunday July 28, before a prize giving ceremony hosted by Royal Aeronautical Society.

Other News Stories (For the latest news please checkout our home page)
blog comments powered by Disqus  
Home Aviation News Aviation Stories Of Interest FAA Exam Upcoming Events Links To Other Sites General Aviation Helicopters Medical Factors Facing Pilots
Maintenance and Aircraft Mechanics Hot Air Balloon Aviation Training Handbooks Read Online Aviation History Legal Issues In Aviation Sea Planes Editorials
 ©AvStop Online Magazine                                                                 Contact Us                                                  Return To News                                          Bookmark and Share  

AvStop Aviation News and Resource Online Magazine