It is possible to make an human powered aircraft propelled by a rowing(bike) movement. On this page you can see the principles of this plunging wing aircraft and some preliminary designs.
Canadian Todd Reichert did it on August 2 2010: flying like a bird! The first flight of a human powered, flapping aeroplane without propeller!
Support from Thys Industrial Designs
The transmission from the rowing movement of the pilot to the flapping wings is based on the super efficient propulsion of the THYS Rowingbike: light weight Dyneema® cables en Sneks. Thijs Industrial Designs supported Todd Reichert’s team since 2006 with know how and spinsored them with rowingbike parts for their “Snowbird” and with complete rowingbikes for the pilots, to train for this extreme performance.
Were does this developments lead to?
Here’s my future view on a row plane. It should be able to take off and land without outside help and would have to be airworthy particularly. Being airworthy makes it possible to look for thermal currents like any (sensible) bird would do.
The distance record set by Daedalus from April 23 1988, from Crete to Santorini (115 km) has to be broken! I’m curious: will Todd continue developments and/or will there be a Dutch initiative from the business community and research institutes? I’m certainly willing to contribute as long as we take to the skies!
See ornithopter.net for more info and links to pictures and video’s.