Build your own Gossamer Condor
August 31, 2012 4:23 PM   Subscribe

The first human-powered aircraft to achieve sustained and controlled flight, the Gossamer Condor (6.3 MB PDF), now belongs to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (2.2 MB JPG). So you'll need to build your own. (previously)
posted by Egg Shen (9 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
And the University of Maryland Gamera II human-powered quad-copter just hit a record of 8ft in altitude, and is huge and cool (previously).
posted by ghharr at 4:59 PM on August 31, 2012 [4 favorites]

I could have never got the Gamera off the ground. I also don't see the point in trying. It flies in a gym and you can't control it? Give me the Condor and let me fly!
posted by cjorgensen at 5:32 PM on August 31, 2012

Hmmm... it's good that there are drawings, but if you're going to go to that much effort, wouldn't you want to spend a little more $$ and use carbon fiber like MacCready's later planes? It was pretty awesome to see the Condor up close at Air & Space and see the damned aluminum tube main spar. How they managed to get that thing in the air? Genius & a world-class cyclist.

MacCready basically also helped invent modern gliding with his Ring. Humans can't sense gradual climb & fall, so need instruments.
posted by morganw at 6:00 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

a world-class cyclist

Specifically, Bryan Allen - who seems like he would be awesome to hang out with.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:04 PM on August 31, 2012

I had to be moved on from the Air & Space Museum. I just stood and gawped at the Condor. All the other exhibits? Please; strictly for the kiddies. Put a big enough engine on anything and it'll fly, but MacCready's design did so much with so little.
posted by scruss at 6:36 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

I found this gallery of all of MacCready's different aircraft which is part of this webpage which is apparently by the guy who did the photography for all of MaCready's work.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:17 PM on August 31, 2012 [1 favorite]

ghharr: "And the University of Maryland Gamera II human-powered quad-copter just hit a record of 8ft in altitude, and is huge and cool (previously)."

That was impressive. They have blown past their old record. And seemingly getting close to winning the fabled Sikorsky Prize which requires: a flight duration of 60 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3 meters (9.8 ft) while remaining in a 10 meter (32.8 ft) square. The above video is altitude 8 feet and 25 seconds, though it appears they could have gone longer and higher but were so surprised they were like "come back!" and cut it short.
posted by stbalbach at 7:19 PM on August 31, 2012

I always think of something like this whenever I see something like that. .
posted by Fizz at 4:46 AM on September 1, 2012

True statement: I read this from the Air and Space Museum. Thanks for the tip!! *scampers off to find Condor*
posted by dry white toast at 2:09 PM on September 1, 2012

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