EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The experimental airplane Eagle was pedaled more than 23 miles over a desert course today, setting a world record for the longest human-powered flight.
Glen Tremml, 27, took about an 1 hour, 20 minutes to break the previous record of 22.5 miles and continued his flight with his sights set on reaching the 30-mile barrier.
Tremml, of Milford, Conn., pedaled off in the Eagle at 8:30 a.m. PST into clear skies and broke the record set by Bryan Allen, of Los Angeles, who pedaled across the English Channel in the Gossammer Albatross in 1979 in two hours, 49 minutes.
The record flight came a day after a 30-year-old triathlete set three world records in the same plane, which designers hope will make the longest man-powered flight in history today.
Lois McCallin, another Eagle pilot, established records Wednesday for distance and duration by a woman with her 10-mile, 37-minute flight aboard the Eagle, group spokesman Greg Williams said.
McCallin, a computer programmer and analyst from Boston, also established the distance record for both men and women on a closed course, Williams said.
McCallin was to have made the record attempt today, but tests indicated that keeping the plane aloft requires more power than had been predicted, and she became fatigued more quickly than expected.
Tremml, 26, a medical student at the University of Connecticut, flew the Eagle 13 miles in 45 minutes last weekend without becoming seriously fatigued, spokesmen said.
McCallin flew just a few feet above a dry desert lakebed in the 88-pound experimental Eagle, a super-light aircraft whose propeller is turned by the pilot pumping bicycle pedals inside a tiny plastic cabin suspended from 110-foot wings.
The 5-foot-6, 122-pound McCallin got into shape for the flight by jogging and riding her bicycle 200 miles a week. A trained pilot, she landed a spot on the Eagle team by answering a newspaper ad.
The Eagle was built by a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., for educational and research purposes. It is built of a combination of strong but super-light materials.
The Eagle flight took place on the same dry lake bed where space shuttles have landed and the Voyager ended its record-breaking round-the-globe flight last month.