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MacCready "Gossamer Albatross"


Display Status:

This object is on display in the Boeing Aviation Hangar room at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, VA.

MacCready "Gossamer Albatross"

Collection Item Summary:

On June 12, 1979, the Gossamer Albatross, with Bryan Allen as pilot, became the first human-powered aircraft to fly across the English Channel. The flight lasted 2 hours and 49 minutes and covered 36.2 kilometers (22.5 miles) between Folkestone, England, and Cap Gris Nez, France. For this accomplishment, the Albatross team won their second Kremer Prize for human-powered aircraft.

Designed by Dr. Paul MacCready and his team of engineers from AeroVironment, the Albatross was similar to the Gossamer Condor, which was the first successful human-powered aircraft. The Albatross was built mostly of carbon fiber tubing and covered with clear Mylar. Unlike the Condor, it was designed to be easily disassembled for shipping.

Collection Item Long Description:

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum


Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum


Credit Line

Donated by Aerovironment Inc.


  • Covering: Mylar
  • Structural: Balsa Wood, Carbon Fiber, Kevlar, Wire, Foam


  • Wingspan: 28.6 m (93 ft 10 in)
  • Length: 15.4 m (50 ft 6 in)
  • Height: 5 m (16 ft 4 in)
  • Weight, empty: 31.8 kg (70 lb)
  • Weight, takeoff: 97.5 kg (215 lb)
  • Top speed: 24 km/h (15 mph)

Country of Origin

United States of America



Physical Description

Pedal powered aircraft, mylar and composite construction.



Inventory Number


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