Merry Christmas!

December 21st, 2009

To all readers of this blog who celebrate Christmas, I wish you a Merry Christmas. For all other readers, may your God be with you.

Do you have problems with this blog?

November 22nd, 2009

This blog is a freebie (free gift) with this site but I know the catagories section down the right hand side does not work, you either get an error 404 or the page cannot be found.

 There is nothing I can do except complain if I can work out who to complain to, either the hosting service or WordPress.

Things are getting worse! I am having problems reading previous entries.


November 15th, 2009

The main part of this site has nearly 250 pages. There are a number of ways to navigate the site, you can use the buttons down the side, the text hyperlinks at the bottom of the screen or there is a site navigation page that acts like a contents page for a book. There is also a set of links just under the banner that enable a user to back out of the page to the level above. Sometimes a set of related pages are linked togeter with a forward/backward/up set of arrows.

I would hope this is enough linking to find what you want on the main site. Some of the linking is missing on other parts of the site, particularly the Library. Although the layout is relatively simple, someone may choose to use an aerofoil designed for another part of the plane or modify one for another use. Human Powered Flying, is mostly hyperlinked although it has a contents page.

Although there is no index, Google and Yahoo! (Other seach engines are available) effectively supply an index as this is a way many users find the site.

As always if you have any comments please let me know.


November 12th, 2009

As I’m sure you realize this site is written in English. It is written in English English as opposed to American English although Britain represents a minority of visitors. The USA represents about a quarter of visitors and I suspect the majority of other visitors that read English have been taught the American version. My spelling is not that good so I tend to rely on spell checkers that are likely to be American. At some point in the future even the Monarch is likely to be speaking American English.

I don’t know if you realize it but the site also attempts to simplify the use of English so that it is more likely to be translated by the automated translators not to mention I try to make allowances for the intended audience of less technical people so jargon is kept to a minimum. If this is not the case then, as always, let me know.

Back to normal

November 10th, 2009

I replaced the power supply in my computer and it is working again! The man in the computer shop said there had been an increased number of computer power supplies failing last week so mine was not the only computer to fail in this way.

Now I have the computer back I can get at all my e-mails and update the web site.


November 6th, 2009

I have to apologise as the web site will not be updated for any reason for the next few days at least as there has been a death in the family.

I went out for the day on Wednesday and when I came back in the evening I tried to turn on my computer and.. it was dead. It remains dead for some reason and I have yet to find the cause of death.

I initially thought that just the on/off switch had failed and it would be possible to override the switch by shorting out the connections on the motherboard which  had done on a previous computer but this did not work. This is about the limit of my knowledge of fixing computers although The computer has already had the motherboard replaced after I damaged the original one adding some RAM.

I have borrowed my wife’s laptop to write this blog and check e-mail accounts but all the website is on the other computer without a proper backup so that will all have to wait until I have fixed my main computer somehow. Please be patient.


October 30th, 2009

I now host a new section on Airglow at and I am about to add some photos of Abhilasha at some time over the weekend if all goes well and it got me thinking about over-engineering. Abhilasha is a marvelous achievement but it turned out heavier than the designer would have liked, Airglow is probably slightly heavier than it needs to be just to fly but it has been around for nearly 20 years.

Abhilasha uses standard components like standard Aluminium alloy tubing, steel bolts and plywood fittings among other components resulting in a relatively cheap and easy to build aircraft but 15 to 20 Kg overweight. Airglow uses Carbon fibre to reduce it’s weight and plastic ribs that has resulted in a robust aircraft (for a HPA) that has not deteriorated much over it’s long lifetime.

I am not sure Airglow was designed to last as long as it has but I believe it was designed with an extended life compared to previous HPAs that have had lives measured in years rather than decades and it has been used in research.


October 27th, 2009

Thankyou for reading this blog and thankyou for visiting this site and making it as popular as it is. There has been over 13,000 hits on the site according to the site’s statistics this month. The number of hits has grown steadily since the site was first created nearly 4 years ago. I get people vititing the site from Argentina to Zimbabwe but mostly from the United States, United Kingdom, Singapore, Australia, Netherlands and Japan.

Are there many people interested in human powered flight? I doubt it, there is information about a wide variety of subjects and I have to say, some people accidentally come to the site expecting to find something entirely different, for example, a person came to the site trying to find the wingspan of a Toucan and was probably rather confused to find it was 139 feet, about 42 metres, a very big bird.  Other people are trying to find information about aerodynamics, engineering and structures in general and do not care that it is related to human powered aircraft.

There are 5 references to this site from Wikipedia, one of which used to go to a non-existent page until I added it and redirect users to the correct page. There should be more as some information in the Czech version of Wikipedia is from the site.

I am pleased with the site but I will try to make the site better by adding more and relevant content.


October 27th, 2009

One of the many things I do is write install routines. I have just modified an existing install routine to intall the latest version of QFLR5. It used to be known as XFLR5 and ran on Windows only but it has been rewritten to run under a number of operating systems. I only write the install routine for Windows. The install routine for version 0.03 can be found at and you can find the QFLR5 web site at

QFLR5 being based on XFLR5 4.17 is a stable product and a version number of 0.03 is not as bad as it seems. Read the XFLR5 web site to find out more.

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale

October 25th, 2009

You may not know but the FAI have a sporting code that covers human powered aircraft (Part 11) at Section states “In the case of distance records, at some point during the flight the aircraft and crew must exceed a height of 2 m above the ground.” It makes me wonder how many HPA flights would be recognized by the FAI including many flights by SUMPAC and Puffin.