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MacCready Gossamer Albatross II

The Museum's MacCready Gossamer Albatross II on display in the Great Gallery
Manufacturer: MacCready
Model: Gossamer Albatross II
Year: 1979
Span: 29.77m / 98ft
Length: 10.36m / 34ft
Height: 4.88m / 16ft
Wing Area: 45.34m² / 488ft²
Empty Weight: 31.75kg / 70lbs
Gross Weight: 97.52kg / 215lbs
Maximum Speed: 28.96km/h
Power Plant: Human powered
Range: 56.31km / 35miles
Serial Number: GA-II


MacCready Gossamer Albatross II

The Gossamer Albatross aircraft is designed to fly long distances with a human as the only power source. This light and fragile aircraft is pushed by a propeller connected, through a series of gears, to a constantly pedaling pilot. On June 12, 1979, the Albatross, powered and guided by pilot Bryan Allen, made an historic flight across the English Channel. The record-breaking flight covered a distance of 22.25 statute miles (35.6 km) in 2 hours and 49 minutes.

The Albatross II on display was built as a backup to the record-breaking Albatross aircraft. Except for some minor design changes, this craft is identical to the Albatross that flew across the Channel. The Albatross II later took part in NASA-funded low speed stability tests and was the first human-powered aircraft to make a controlled flight inside an enclosed structure -- the Houston Astrodome.