Ornithopter: A machine designed to achieve flight by means of flapping wings. (Oxford dictionary).
Current situation Airplanes have been around for more than 100 years, but ornithopters are relatively new. Thousands of them have been developed but they are mostly small models. None of them are capable of carrying people for more than a short distance.
Our aims We aim to advance the understanding of ornithopter theory and construction. We believe this will lead to 'people carrying ornithopter aircraft' becoming popular vehicles of choice for future generations (i.e., the next century, and beyond).
Affordable 'people carrying' ornithopters costing less than a motor car, and capable of being flown by most of us, is our aim.
Flight is expensive, isn't it? Contrary to popular belief, flying is more fuel efficient per man-mile (and safer) than motoring. This is borne out by the fact that heavy migratory birds such as Geese and Swans … etc, fly thousands of miles using only muscle power (distances that no model aircraft can do). So no: flight needn't be expensive.
Human powered flight! Yes; human powered flight is possible. A memorable human powered flight was made by Bryan Allen (an American cyclist) when he flew his pedal powered fixed-wing aircraft (named Gossamer albatross) across the English channel on the 12th June 1979; a distance of 23 miles. Since then, we have been flying human powered fixed-wing aircraft on a regular basis.
The longest flight using human power was carried out in 1988 by Kanellos Kanellopoulos (a Greek cycling champion), when he flew a fixed-wing aircraft from Crete to the island of Santorini, a distance of 74 miles in under four hours. His aircraft was named Daedalus, in commemoration of a Greek mythological flight from Crete to Santorini.
No one has flown a human powered ornithopter that can fly like a bird, from the ground up, using flapping wings only.
What we do We publish a quarterly journal: Flapping Wings, which covers the latest ideas and developments concerning ornithopters. It is a specialist journal and is therefore only available to subscribers.