Nov 22, 2022

Human-powered aircraft: A plane with ‘impossible engineering’ and no engine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

Lazarus, built by university students, made its longest flight time yet.

Students at the University of Southampton have a special project they have been working on for years together. That is, to power flight using only the muscle power of a single pilot, technically known as human-powered aircraft (HPA). Earlier this year, the team won their first Formula Flight competition with their design dubbed Lazarus.

Formula Flight is a competition organized by the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Human Powered Flight Group. According to its webpage, human-powered flying is a sport that combines “extreme athleticism with almost impossible engineering”.

Southampton University.

Since the human body can only produce maximum power for a few seconds, the aircraft used in the sport needs to have a low cruise speed and lightweight construction. This allows them to fly only in low winds and achieving flight can be rather hard though not impossible.

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