The First Human-Powered Flight

The Gossamer Condor relied on pedal power.

It took 18 years for someone to claim the $100,000 prize offered by British industrialist Henry Kremer for the first sustained (mile-long) human-powered flight. On this day in 1977, the Gossamer Condor, built by Paul MacCready and flown by bicyclist/ hang-glider pilot Bryan Allen, won the challenge.

The 1978 video below gives a good account of the flight. MacCready reminisced about the Gossamer Condor in a 2003 Ted talk. And Bryan Allen is now a software engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. He did his own reminiscing for the JPL Bicycle Club a couple of years ago.