ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

* Pedal Airplanes - The Gossamer Condor

Updated on August 28, 2015

The Gossamer Condor and other stuff about wind

This article however is not only about that flight, but more about in what way man uses the power of the wind to his advantage. I like the wind and where I live there's wind most of the time. Photography is my hobby and I like to Ride The Wind and Touch the Sky in photography. It gives me a feeling of freedom.

Though you can't actually see the wind itself, you can feel it and see it's there in the things surrounding you. You can see it's there, by the movements of the clouds in the sky and the motion in the landscape.

My country is rather flat and where I live I can look straight to the horizon in the front of our old farmhouse. We see 1/3 of land and 2/3 of sky, the perfect photographic composing rule. Some might think that the sky is dull, but it's far from dull. It's changing color and form every minute of the day. The wind adds to those ever changing forms in nature. It makes the trees bend, it makes the clouds look grumpy and it blows my head empty when it's too full of everything.

Copyright text and photos, if not mentioned otherwise: Titia Geertman

Man powered flights

The fascination of flying by manpower

The big success of the first Man Powered Flight, which took place on August 23, 1977, conducted by Paul MacCready, is the reason that August 23 has been declared as Ride The Wind Day.

It was aircraft designer Paul MacCready who, after 20 years of study and trials, succeeded to fulfill the challenge to fly a certain distance (including a turn) with a Man Powered Airplane, which he had named the Gossamer Condor.

The Gossamer Condor

gossamer condo
gossamer condo | Source

What about the 'Ride the Wind Day'

Well, there was this wealthy English industrialist Henry Kremer who was quite in for adventures and challenges. In 1959 he established a prize for the first one who could fly a figure eight over a certain distance in a human powered airplane. It took about twenty years until a guy named Paul MacCready, built a human powered airplane which could do the trick. His plane has become famous under the name Gossamer Condor

This big success took place on August 23, 1977 and that's why this date is now known as Ride the Wind Day. The prize was about 50.000 pounds ($85.000). Two years later in 1979 this Paul MacCready won the Kremer Prize again, by crossing the Channel between England and France in a human powered airplane. The Flight of the Gossamer Condor has been filmed by Ben Shedd and his cewr from start to end.

The Gossamer Condor is now hangs in the the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum and they're showing part of Shedd's film

Photo courtesy: Build to Rebuilt by Todd Sattersten telling the story of this unique event.

The Kremer Prize Challenge goes on

I wonder how many more brave men/women will Ride the Wind

The Kremer prize didn't end with the flights of the Gossamer Conder (prize: 50.000 pounds) which flew the first human powered mile long figure eight cours and the Gossamer Albatross (prize: 100.000 pounds), the first human powered airplane which crossed the English Channel.

Since then another Kremer Prize (20.000 pounds) has been awarded to a design team of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. They flew their their MIT Monarch B craft on a triangular 1.5 km (0.93 mi) course under three minutes.

And it's not over yet. Three Kremer Prizes are waiting on their rightful winners (total of 150.000 pounds)

* 26 mile Marathon course in under an hour (£50,000),

* Sporting aircraft challenge stressing maneuverability (£100,000),

* Local challenge that is limited to youth groups (under 18 years) in the UK.

So if you feel up to it, take your chance to write History.


Do you want to know more about human powered aircraft?

Click the link to read more about the Gossamer Condor

If you're anxious to know more about how we use the wind to our advantage, then click this link to the Wikipedia Article about Human Powered Aircraft

Photographing the Wind

Photographing the Wind


How does one photograph the wind?

One can't photograph the wind itself, one can only photograph the presence of the wind. You can't touch the wind, but it touches you and you can see its presence in the things surrounding you. When you look at the photo, you can see that there was no wind at the moment I took the picture on the left, but that there was some wind when I took the picture on the right. On the left the plumes of the reed are pointing to all directions, on the left the plumes are all pointing in one direction, telling us the wind came from the left.

Trees touched by the Wind - Sometimes the Wind doesn't know its own force

Bended trees
Bended trees | Source

You can't control the Wind, but you can use the Wind to your own benefit

Sometimes we don't like the wind, especially when its turning into a raging storm. We all know about the devastating tornadoes, no need to show you pictures of those, we all know what they can do and you can find them on the internet everywhere. However there are so many other things we depend for on the wind and without wind they can not perform. I'm talking about sailing boats, windmills, gliding airplanes, all birds, hang gliders, wind surfers, kiters and I'm sure I"m forgetting some. I've never taken photos of windsurfers as I remember well. At our coast we don't have those high waves.

Clouds Ride the Wind


People Ride the Wind

People use the Wind for Pleasure or for Work - In so many ways we use the wind to our advantage

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Hang gliderSailingWindmillTwo gliding airplanes and no, they didn't collide, it just looks that wayHotair Balloon Ride, we photographed each other as it looks
Hang glider
Hang glider | Source
Sailing | Source
Windmill | Source
Two gliding airplanes and no, they didn't collide, it just looks that way
Two gliding airplanes and no, they didn't collide, it just looks that way | Source
Hotair Balloon Ride, we photographed each other as it looks
Hotair Balloon Ride, we photographed each other as it looks | Source

Poll about the Wind

Do you like the Wind?

See results

Riding the Wind in the Wrong Way

Crashed Airplane?
Crashed Airplane? | Source

It's not what you think it is

Looks quite real, doesn't it. But no, it's not what you think it is, or is it?, I can asure you, nobody got hurt. At the beach in Zandvoort there's this beach house restaurant and next to it they have put this little airplane on poles. As the beach is so much lower than the street above, it just looks like the plane crashed into the dunes. I took this photo from a certain angle.

Spiders ride the Wind

Spider travelled through air across the road
Spider travelled through air across the road | Source

Spiders use the wind to transport themselves

Even the spiders are taking advantage of the wind to get from one place to the other as you can see in the photo above. They just spin a long thread and then they drift on the wind until they hit another spot and that can be quite a distance sometimes. Spiders travel without a plan so to speak, they settle where the wind will take them.

© 2012 Titia Geertman

Breeze your comments here please

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      When my son was 12 he tried to make a hang glider-he would love this page, I'll have to forward it to him!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • Bexley profile image

      Bexley 5 years ago

      I love all things in nature including the wind! Your lens about the wind is interesting and your photos are wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

    • Country-Sunshine profile image

      Country Sunshine 5 years ago from Texas

      I've never been fond of the wind, except when it's hot outside. This article has given me a new appreciation of it. Great!

    • FantasticVoyages profile image

      Fantastic Voyages 5 years ago from Texas

      What an interesting article about the wind! Great!

    • Steph Tietjen profile image

      Stephanie Tietjen 5 years ago from Albuquerque, New Mexico

      Excellent and artistic work. Bravo

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      Wonderful lens with so many beautiful pictures. Congrats on your new purple star! Blessed!

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 5 years ago from Canada

      I love pictures of lightening, clouds, and the wind. I think the natural elements are so very beautiful. Can one ride the wind - emotionally and physically - yes.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 5 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Just beautiful, a lovely lens about the wind! Windy days can be so peaceful sometimes..especially when summer is turning into fall, or spring is turning into summer.

    • ismeedee profile image

      ismeedee 5 years ago

      Wow, beautiful lens! I love your ethos of letting your photos alone. I think people overdo the editing thing now and often ruin a perfectly good photo which captured the essence the photographer saw in the first place! So good for you!

    • Shoputopian profile image

      Karnel 5 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      You have so many beautiful photos, this is just awesome and I enjoyed reading it thanks for sharing...Blessed!

    • Paul Ward profile image

      Paul 5 years ago from Liverpool, England

      Beautiful photographs, esp the trees.

    • kislanyk profile image

      Marika 5 years ago from Cyprus

      Well I am breezing on your awesome photos! Gorgeous. Blessed!