A students’ team attempted the world first FAI record of HPA.

“Apollo” which is Team “Aircraft Makers”‘s human-powered aircraft before flight on the attempt morning.
Source: http://acm9.blog.fc2.com/blog-entry-380.html

On 6 November 2016, a team “Aircraft Makers”, which is a students’ HPA team at Tokyo University of Science, attempted FAI world record of HPA at Ryugasaki Airport in Ryugasaki city, Ibaraki pref., Japan. The team attempted “Distance on an Out and Return Cource” in accordance with FAI Sporting Code Section 11 3.1.2. As you may know, any records are not certified by FAI in this cateogry. So If the team successed the attempt, the team can achieve to set the new world record and their pilot can be the first japanese FAI record holder of human-powered aircraft.

In the last spring, the team decided to attempt a world record because the team had been rejected to entry HPA time trial category of the Japan International Birdman Rally 2016 and had lost appropriate occasions of flight to exercise potential of their aircraft performance. It is difficult for students to attempt FAI record. Because many negociations and many agreements are needed to fly human-powered aircraft over any places or waters. Ryugasaki airport ordinarily also reject to use runway to fly a human-powered aircraft. But the team and their supporters achieved to get agreement of the airport.

The team performed test flights to improve their aircraft and to train their pilot for setting the record from spring to summer in the last year. In test flights, they successed 180 degrees turning flights, which attracted team Airglow’s attention and were introduced on team Airglow’s facebook.  You may have watched the video. The following video shows one of the test flights for turning on 4 August 2016 uploaded on youtube page on team Aircraft Makers (https://www.youtube.com/user/aircraftmakers/featured). As it shows, their aircraft has impressive maneuverability. Most of HPA fans may hope for their success.

 

On the attempt morning, they performed running of aircraft and test flights (straight flight along the runway) to check their aircraft and pilot at first. Those few flights are their first flights on the Ryugasaki airport. They confirmed that their aircraft and pilot had no problems. Then they decided to go on a attempt flight. The team applied setting total 800 metre (one way 400 metre) length of a course to set the world record. Their aircraft and pilot successed to take off and to pass over T-bar of 2 metre height. Their aircraft flew uneventfully before turning. When on the harf way of turning, bank angle of the aircraft was incresing and loosing its altitudes. Finally the right wing tip of the aircraft touched tall grasses and the aircraft was made a forced landing. Their attempt was failed.

The pilot looked at causes of faillure in the attempt flight in the team’s blog. One of the causes might be crosswind. He was exhausted by excessive drag of a rudder and landing gears to avoid turning off the runway by the crosswind until taking off. Therefore he did not gain enough altitude for safety turning. Another of the causes was that the team might be unfamiliar with the Ryugasaki airport. The team was not able to use the airport before the attempt. So the team could not know enviroment of near the runway. Actually the pilot wrote in their blog that he did not get clearly perspective of the flight course due to tall grasses.

Although the team’s attempt was failed, this attempt gave valuable experience to the team.I wish that the attempt encourage other students’ HPA teams to attempt FAI records.

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