VIDEO Northampton woman is first female to achieve human-powered flight... at first attempt

A woman from Northampton has become the first female from the UK to achieve human-powered flight.

Wednesday, 27th July 2016, 8:42 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:59 pm

Charlotte Barford, from East Hunsbury, had lift off during the BHPFC human-powered flying competition at Sywell Aerodrome.

Assisted by three people running alongside for safety, she pedalled her aircraft ‘Betterfly’ - designed and built by her father David -so that the combination of the flimsy wings and spinning rotor lifted her upwards.

“As far as anyone knows Charlotte is the first ever, and did it at her first attempt.

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“We don’t mess around in our family.”

The ‘flight’ was brief but it was enough to pip two other UK girls wishing to achieve this title.

Amazingly, it was also the first time Charlotte had stepped inside a human-powered aircraft.

This flight was not even part of the competition and wasn’t planned. It took place near the end of the event as the runway was to be closed to the competition group within the next 30 minutes.

Charlotte did not receive any prize but was congratulated by all.

At Sywell this year there were spectators from Italy, Japan and the USA at the event.

Organisers expect the competition to have international participation next year as Bordeaux University has indicated that they will enter.

American Alec Proudfoot also hopes to bring his recently completed human-powered aircraft, Dash.

The American and Italian visitors are now interested in starting similar organisations back in their own countries.