A University of Toronto engineering graduate student has made aviation history, successfully flying the first ever human-powered flapping-wing aircraft continuously.Ornithopters (flapping-wing aircraft) have been around for a while but this is the first one efficient enough to carry a human while not requiring more than the limited power that a human can produce.
Todd Reichert, a PhD candidate at the university’s Institute of Aerospace Studies, piloted the wing-flapping aircraft, sustaining both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds and covering a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.
While it is unlikely that ornithopters will ever be as fast as jet planes, there are other uses for airplanes for which the ornithopter's potential for being quieter and more efficient could be important. In any event, this flight is another human accomplishment. Here is the video: