In the early 80s, the Man-Powered-Aircraft-Group of the RAeS established a speed competition in order to further promote human-powered flight. Henry Kremer agreed to provide financial support. (See the Spring 1984 edition of Human Power, the Journal of the IHPVA, for details on the prize as well as articles on the Bionic Bat and the MIT Monarch.) Suffice it to say here that the prize required flying a speed course in under three minutes, and allowed stored energy. Partly to pursue the prize and partly to explore new technologies, MacCready's team built the Bionic Bat in 1983. Flights began in August 1983, at Minter Field, Shafter, California, where most of the testing of MacCready's earlier aircraft had been conducted. The Bionic Bat won two of the Kremer World Speed prizes. Parker MacCready, Paul's oldest son, flew the course at a speed of 20.55 mph, in 163 seconds on July 18, 1984; Bryan Allen flew the course at a speed of 23.45 mph, in 143 seconds on December 2, 1984. The photography shown here spans the period of August 1983 to June 1984, although I did not witness the prize-winning flights. If you need any of these images, either for publication or in print form, please contact me using email from the Home page. Click on any thumbnail to see larger versions of these images. While viewing any image, clicking on the image will increase the image size. Clicking again will either increase the size again, or reduce it, if at the maximum size. Clicking the back arrow will show the original page.

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