Paul MacCready was very generous. He allowed everyone who worked on the Gossamer Condor and Gossamer Albatross to have a chance to fly those airplanes. Although not officially associated with his team, I was also granted the opportunity to fly both of those aircraft. My attempt to fly the Gossamer Condor was not photographed, and in any case, was very brief. I seemed to experience a common phenomenon: when I realized I was actually flying, I slacked off on the pedaling, and of course, immediately returned to earth. I am presenting some photographs of my attempts to fly the Gossamer Albatross II on this page. This aircraft had been built as as backup aircraft for the Channel crossing, in the event the first aircraft became damaged during an attempt. I believe this aircraft differed from the first in that the wingspan was slightly shorter. Although a lot easier to fly than the Gossamer Condor, since it required less power, nonetheless, one had to be a competent pilot as soon as he became airborne. On my first attempt, on September 14, 1980, at Minter Field, Shafter airport, California, I put the nose up too high, essentially stalled, and immediately returned to the ground, nearly hitting Paul MacCready, who had given me a boost with a tow rope. My second attempt was a success, and I flew for roughly a minute, before running out of airport. As I approached the airport fence, Sam Duran yelled for me to stop pedaling, so I landed, exhilarated. Photos egf07 through egf13, below, were taken by Ernie Franzgrote, then a scientist at Cal Tech's Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena. He is now retired, lives in Vermont, and has become well-known for his videos of hummingbirds in flight. He has made videos of many species of hummingbirds, and is on a quest to get them all. Click on any thumbnail to view larger version of the image. 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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