Southampton University Man Powered SUMPAC
On the 9th of November 1961 the human-powered aircraft “SUMPAC”, designed by David Williams, Anne Marsden and Alan Lassiere, students of The University of Southampton, took to the skies under the sole power of its pilot Derek Piggott sitting inside the cockpit. SUMPAC became the world’s first true human-powered aircraft and Derek became the world’s first human to fly under his own power, thus fulfilling humanity’s centuries-old dream to fly like a bird.
No more did humans have to jump off church towers or hillsides, often with fatal consequences. Derek was SUMPAC’s engine.
60 years on we celebrate this historical flight with an international cross-channel race.
We also celebrate Paul MacCready’s Gossamer Albatross which, piloted by Bryan Allen, successfully flew across the English Channel on the 12th June 1979 to win the Kremer prize.