It's taken 8 years and £8,000 to achieve his childhood dream of flying an aircraft built and powered by himself but on Sunday 28 July 2013, David Barford won the Royal Aeronautical Society

2013 Icarus Cup for Human Powered Flight

Betterfly in flight at Sywell Aerodrome, courtesy of Ian Johnson David won a Professional Aerospace watch, courtesy of the event sponsor Breitling, while his Team Betterfly, comprising supportive members of his and co-pilot, Paul Wales', family, took away the Icarus Cup trophy. In second place was Mike Truelove followed by Robin Kraike in third place, both pilots with Team Airglow, winners of the 2012 Icarus Cup. The full results can be seen in the table below.


This year's event saw Robin Kraike pull off an unassisted take off from standing position within 12.2m, an improvement of 12.7m on last year's results while the Triangular Course task was attempted for the first time with David Barford completing two sides of the triangle and performing angled turns. Teams from Bath University, Southampton University and a private team called EA12, led by designer of the Optica, John Edgley FRAeS, also took part in the competition.

Southampton University Human Powered Aircraft gets airborne

Southampton University Human Powered Aircraft gets airborne Building on the success of the inaugural competition in 2012 and the interest in human powered flight was one of the key objectives for the Society's Human Powered Flight Group (HPFG). And this year's Icarus Cup did not disappoint as each evening, and even at dawn, engineers, pilots and flying enthusiasts flocked to inspect the aircraft, talk with team members and watch as the aircraft, powered solely by human energy and exertion, took flight.

Visitors learn about human powered aircraft

Visitors learn about human powered aircraft

Inspiring the next generation

A local school teacher seeing the aircraft being constructed for the first time, said, "this type of practical activity helps to bring aviation and engineering alive for young people and help them understand scientific knowledge and theories." Much like the RAeS and Boeing Schools Build a Plane Challenge, the HPFG has a Kremer Schools Competition open to schools and youth groups in order to inspire the next generation to become interested in aviation and engineering by building a human powered aircraft with the opportunity to win £1000 for the longest flight duration. For more information about the 2013 Icarus Cup visit or view some of the video of flights on the Royal Aeronautical Society YouTube Channel.

Another HPA on the horizon....

A team from Sheffield University were due to compete in the 2013 Icarus Cup but, unfortunately, their materials did not arrive in time to construct their design. However, the team are still working hard and hope for it to be built and finished in the coming weeks so stay tuned to Twitter (follow @AeroSociety) and Facebook for more updates.

Emma Bossom
30 July 2013