Gallery: Teenager Builds Pedal-Powered Airplane Out of Balsa Wood

plane, pedal power, dutch, netherlands

Lots of kids wish they could build an airplane and fly away, but Dutch teenager Jesse van Kuijk has become one of the rare few to make it happen with his pedal-powered plane made out of balsa wood, polyurethane, and rip-resistant foil. The most impressive part? Van Kuijk built his plane without ever having flown in one before!

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  1. pigfly August 25, 2012 at 3:04 am

    Well done – what a beautiful propellor design and the crossover power chain – simple, brilliant, Check out Musculair in the Munich museum at Schleissheim. I think youve done well with simpler means!

  2. Nancy Lavander September 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    I’m a long time watcher and I just believed I’d drop by and say hi for the very first time. I genuinely take pleasure in your posts. Thanks

  3. blacker1977 January 5, 2011 at 1:22 am

    recumbent style cockpit would be longer and need more support under the body. i.e. a chair vs a bike seat. plus extra lenght = more material = more weight. also he used an existing bike frame im guessing cost was involved.
    so probably quite a few reasons there isnt a recumbent style cockpit.

  4. French Engineers Design... August 25, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    […] there was the bicycle, then the pedalo boat, then the pedal-powered aircraft — and now, thanks to a team of French engineers, the world has the pedal-powered submarine. […]

  5. ThinAirDesigns September 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    I just love the media .. he built it out of “balsa wood, polyurethane and rip-resistant foil”. Ahh yes, and not a stitch of aluminum tubing to be seen. LOL

    Nice work by the kid. Kudos.

    Oh, btw … hi JJ


  6. jjcote September 7, 2009 at 8:41 am

    There are few HPAs that have used a recumbent pilot position. In terms of efficiency, there’s probably far more to be gained by using a better propeller than fiddling with the pilot position. The design that he used also appears to be quite simple and lightweight, which are also very important.

  7. Observerx10 September 1, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    Can’t help but wonder why he did not use a more aerodynamic and powerful recumbent style cockpit.

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