CHARLESTOWN, R.I., AUG. 26 -- A test pilot pedaled an experimental human-powered aircraft over water for the first time today in preparation for a planned reenactment of the mythical flight of Daedalus next spring.
Glenn Tremml of Milford, Conn., piloted the Eagle for about 21 minutes to complete the estimated five-mile flight from the Ninigret Park, over the Block Island Sound and back to a landing strip in the park at 6:50 a.m.
"Nothing untoward occurred," said Charles Ball, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Mass., where the craft was designed. "It was a really beautiful flight."
The Eagle was designed by a team of MIT researchers in hope of learning more about aviation and human endurance and to increase public awareness about aeronautics.
Tremml, 26, a triathlete and medical student, set a world record for human-powered flight Jan. 21 by pedaling the Eagle 37 miles over a course at Edwards Air Force Base in California.
The 92-pound plane, made of strong, superlight materials, is powered by a propeller driven by a pilot pedaling inside a tiny plastic cabin suspended from 110-foot wings.
The researchers plan to use information garnered from the California test flight and today's flight to improve a new craft they are building based on the Eagle.
The new craft will be called the Daedalus and is expected to be complete by Oct. 20. It will be used in an attempt planned for March or April to reenact the mythical flight of Daedalus and set a record for human-powered flight by flying 69 miles from the island of Crete to Greece.
Daedalus was a Greek inventor said to have escaped imprisonment on Crete by flying away on wings he fashioned of wax and feathers.