What is Human Powered Flight?

The Man Powered Aircraft Group of the Royal Aeronautical Society originated in 1959 when the members of the Man Powered Group of the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield were invited to become a group of the Society. Its title was changed from 'Man' to 'Human" in 1988 in recognition of the many successful flights by woman pilots. Without the generosity and enthusiastic support of the late Mr Henry Kremer, human powered flight would probably still be only a dream. By offering prizes for the various competitions which have been set, he has provided a focus for research and made possible the building of extraordinary aircraft. Over the years he has donated over £275,000 of his own money to encourage greater achievement in human powered flight.

Human Powered Flight - Towards a Practical Sport

For designers these machines offer a most exciting challenge. Ultra lightweight materials have revolutionised techniques of construction, producing aircraft with a wingspan of around 25 meters, and an all up weight of little over 30 kilograms. Where the aircraft of the 1970's were so flimsy that they could only be flown in virtually still air, the machines now being built can cope with light winds. We have reached the transitional period in human powered flight. The basic research has been done, and this next stage will lead to more practical aircraft, which can be built by a group of enthusiasts and flown as a sport. For the pilot, the human factors involved are unique, offering a challenge not found in any other branch of aviation. Control of a slow flying, lightweight aeroplane demands a high degree of skill. In addition the pilot must generate sufficient power to take off and stay airborne. As designs progress, so it has become less necessary for the pilot to be a highly trained athlete. Anyone is a potential HPA pilot. One of the ultimate aims of the Group is to promote human powered flight as an Olympic sport 


The group organises a number of different events including an annual lecture.

Get in touch

If you specialise in this field, or wish to find our more, explore our additional resources below. To get involved with the activities of the Human Powered Flight Group please contact the Chairperson by contacting conferences@aerosociety.com. 

The Kremer International Marathon Competition

Prize: £50,000 (Fifty Thousand Pounds Sterling) The course for the Kremer International Marathon Competition is around two turning points. The aircraft starts from rest flies two outer circuits, one figure of eight, then two more outer circuits, such that the distance including turns is thus approximately the distance of the Marathon course in athletic events. This distance must be flown in one hour or less. The aircraft must be in continuous flight, and must make a landing satisfactory to the observers. At certain points on each circuit there is a minimum height obligation. The entrant may select the location of the course, which must then be approved. * Download the rules as a PDF file *Download Kremer Marathon Rules Clarifications as a PDF file * For an Entry Form E-Mail conference@aerosociety.com

The Kremer International Sporting Aircraft Competition

Prize: £100,000 (One hundred thousand pounds Sterling) The purpose of this competition is to promote the production of an aircraft suited to athletic competition. In particular it is necessary to specify and design an aircraft able to operate in normal weather conditions, as encountered in the United Kingdom. The prize of £100,000 will be awarded to the first entrant successfully demonstrating a human powered aircraft in accordance with the rules of the competition. * Download the rules as a PDF file *Clarifications to Rules of Sporting Competition * For an Entry form E-Mail us at conference@aerosociety.com