A bicycle built for flying!

Pedal-powered-Aircraft-2Never underestimate a kid with a dream.

19-year old Jesse van Kuijk from the Netherlands, had dreamed of flying as a young child. And now he’s done it! van Kuijk built a pedal-powered plane – made out of balsa wood, polyurethane, and rip-resistant foil – and on Sunday took to the air.

Amazingly, he’d never flown in one of these ephemeral contraptions before, and he’d never even built a scale model beforehand!

Pedal-powered-AircraftStill, with determination, research and an “I can” attitude, van Kuijk took his seven meters long, four meters high, collapsible pedal-powered plane to his local airport and, after dark, began to make his dream come true.

The single red propeller turned, the plane moved forward and, voila! “The earth under my feet slipped away,” van Kuijk exclaimed afterwards. Under his own power and in the aircraft he had designed and built, he flew!

Though he didn’t go far – 15 feet in the air for a distance of about 45 feet– he hopes eventually to make an extended journey.

Pedal-powered-Aircraft_3The Royal Aeronautical Society – well respected by the world’s aerospace community – funds four cash prizes for innovative models, with teams from institutions like Virginia Tech and Pennsylvania State University vying for first place. But van Kuijk could very well be among the first of a younger generation of engineers who find new innovative ways to deal with growing aircraft fuel shortages.

So hold onto those dreams and make them happen. You’re never too young (or too old, for that matter)!

For more on this amazing flying feat, see http://3.ly/j43.