The Real Bird Man: Background information when reading My Dad's A Birdman

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My Dad's A Birdman

by David Almond, Polly Dunbar

My Dad's A Birdman
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2008, 128 pages
    Mar 2011, 128 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jo Perry

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Real Bird Man

Aeronautical engineer and inventor Paul MacCready (1925-2007) earned the title "birdman" becoming internationally known in 1977 as the "father of human-powered flight" when his Gossamer Condor made the first sustained, controlled flight by a heavier-than-air craft powered solely by its pilot's muscles. For the feat he received the $95,000 Henry Kremer Prize; and the Condor is now housed at the Smithsonian.

Two years later, his team created the Gossamer Albatross, another 70-pound craft with a 96-foot wingspan that, with DuPont sponsorship, achieved a human-powered flight across the English Channel. That flight, made by "pilot-engine" Bryan Allen, took almost three hours. It won the new Kremer prize of $213,000, at the time the largest cash prize in aviation history.

The Gossamer Albatross II at Dryden Flight Research Center in 1980Next, MacCready and his team developed two more aircraft, this time powered by the sun. In 1980, the Gossamer Penguin made the first climbing flight powered solely by sunbeams. In 1981, the ...

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