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University of Toronto student flies world's first ornithopter

University of Toronto student Todd Reichert has been making international headlines for creating the first ornithopter--an engineless, wing-flapping aircraft--capable of sustained flight. As reported by the BBC, Reichert's plane flew nonstop for 19.3 seconds on the 2nd of August  2010. The record breaking feat, performed at The Great Lakes Gliding Club in Tottenham, Ontario, is expected to be confirmed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale at its October meeting. 

"Mr Reichert, a PhD student at the University of Toronto, said the Snowbird "represents the completion of an age-old aeronautical dream."

"Throughout history, countless men and women have dreamt of flying like a bird under their own power, and hundreds, if not thousands have attempted to achieve it," he said in a statement. "This represents one of the last of the aviation firsts."
"Other craft with flapping wings have taken off, but the team claim theirs is the first to actually power itself in flight...To keep it light, lift-off mechanisms were not built in.Instead, a tow car helped lift it clear of the ground. But then Mr Reichert took over, using his feet to pump a bar that flaps the wings."

read full story here
original source BBC News

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