10 Uplifting Inventions for Personal Flight

Competitive Personal Flyers

When human-powered aircraft became more prevalent in the 1980s, several competitions started across the world, hoping to turn aviation into an extreme sport. By using affordable lightweight materials to produce their designs, amateur aviators build and fly their devices against one another. Pictured here is Anthony Rewcastle in 2005, participating in the "birdman competition" at the Queenstown Festival in Queenstown, New Zealand. Another competitive human-powered aircraft event is the Icarus Cup in England, where pilots compete at sprinting, duration, slalom, take-offs and landings. The very first prize for this tournament went to the Paul MacCready's Gossamer Condor in 1977. For more on this particular apparatus, see our next entry.