Welcome to the RAeS Human Powered Flight Group

The Man Powered Aircraft Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society originated in 1959 when the members of the Man Powered Group of the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield were invited to become a group of the Society. Its title was changed from 'Man' to 'Human" in 1988 in recognition of the many successful flights by woman pilots. Without the generosity and enthusiastic support of the late Mr Henry Kremer, human powered flight would probably still be only a dream. By offering prizes for the various competitions which have been set, he has provided a focus for research and made possible the building of extraordinary aircraft. Over the years he has donated over £275,000 of his own money to encourage greater achievement in human powered flight.

Human Powered Flight - Towards a Practical Sport

For designers these machines offer a most exciting challenge. Ultra lightweight materials have revolutionised techniques of construction, producing aircraft with a wingspan of around 25 meters, and an all up weight of little over 30 kilograms. Where the aircraft of the 1970's were so flimsy that they could only be flown in virtually still air, the machines now being built can cope with light winds. We have reached the transitional period in human powered flight. The basic research has been done, and this next stage will lead to more practical aircraft, which can be built by a group of enthusiasts and flown as a sport. For the pilot, the human factors involved are unique, offering a challenge not found in any other branch of aviation. Control of a slow flying, lightweight aeroplane demands a high degree of skill. In addition the pilot must generate sufficient power to take off and stay airborne. As designs progress, so it has become less necessary for the pilot to be a highly trained athlete. Anyone is a potential HPA pilot. One of the ultimate aims of the Group is to promote human powered flight as an Olympic sport.

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October 2015


  • 7 Oct

    President's Conference 2015

    The 2015 President's Conference will enable those involved in all aspects of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to consider the latest applications, regulatory challenges and the technical challenges facing the entire RPAS field.

  • 7 Oct
    Branch Event


    3D Printing & Digital Technology - the step changes in production productivity and design. Topics covering : 1. Current 3D printing to make patterns, tools and moulds. 2. Future 3D printing developments to make ceramic moulds and finished parts. 3. Design space opportunities. 4. CT based inspection of parts (DXR, metrology etc).

  • 8 Oct
    Branch Event

    100 Years of Aircraft Manufacture at Yeovil

    Branch Lecture