Crazy Teenager Takes Off In Homemade Pedal-Powered AircraftS

Everyone wishes they could fly, but this 19-year-old kid spent three years building his dream from balsa wood, rip-resistant foil and plastic wrap. And amazingly, the 85-foot-wingspan craft has already hopped a distance of about 35 feet.

The modest distance (and height of about 5 feet) isn't a bad start in human-powered flight for a do-it-yourselfer. Dutchman Jesse van Kuijk hopes to go further in the future, without the bike chain powering his propeller slipping off its cog.

Though he's never flown in a real plane, Jesse says he studied self-powered craft like the Gossamer Condor and the English-Channel crossing Gossamer Albatross. He also got tips from the Albatross' pilot, American Bryan Allen, who is now a software engineer for the Mars exploration project.

So, what did you do this Summer? [Spiegel via Inhabitat]

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