top of page

The Lowdown Hub

Exclusive: Magnificent men in their flying machines set to soar across the Channel Pilots.

Pilots will have to pedal as though their lives depend upon it on the 22-mile crossing from England to France – a feat achieved only once before

Pilot Mike Truelove checks his cycle-powered plane, above, which he will ‘fly’ in the contest

Imagine yourself several meters up in the air, kept aloft in a machine made of plastic and carbon fiber weighing no more than 40kg, and all the time pedaling as if your life depended on it. That's precisely what a small band of daring men and women are preparing to do when they attempt to fly across the Channel powered simply by their own efforts. More than 40 years after the first and only crossing of that 22-mile stretch of water in a human-powered aircraft (HPA), teams of pilots and engineers are readying themselves to repeat the feat. Enthusiasts like to point out that such is the difficulty of what the teams will attempt to achieve – combining cutting edge engineering with the supreme athletic ability needed to pedal the aircraft into the air and keep it up there – that more people have flown into space than have flown a human-powered aircraft. The only successful attempt to fly an HPA from the south c