A hindu name, female, meaning: ‘dream’ or ‘desire’.

The dream to fly, on your own muscle power! Abhilasha was designed in 2006, as a hobby project of Jesse van Kuijk, at the age of 16. After a construction period of 3 years, this HPA was ready to fly in 2009. In late summer, on August 9, the first little flight of 30 m distance was made, only terminated because of a faulty bicycle chain tensioner. This flight was the first successful human powered flight in the Netherlands, and it made international media and national TV. Because Jesse had meanwhile moved away to pursue his university studies, there was little time to work on this project. Several more flights were made in the summer of 2010. In 2012, this HPA became part of the Aviodrome aerospace museum collection. For years she was on display there, and is now in storage.

Abhilasha is a multiwire HPA design, with a single wing spar made from aluminum tubing, held in place by 1.5 mm steel bracing wires. The wing planform is rectangular, without twist. A wing span of 26 m and a chord of 1.6 m resulted in a large wing area of 41.6 m2. The wing airfoil is L7769, chosen for its good performance at low Reynolds numbers with turbulent flow. Laminar airfoils were considered but rejected as their performance would drop significantly if the thin plastic skin would not be tight. The flights in 2009 and 2010 proved that the L7769 airfoil worked fine.

The HPA has a two-axis control system. The tail consists of all-moving elevator and rudder, with N0009 airfoils. The propeller has two blades with constant chord, and has a diameter of 3.6 m. The blades were built like model airplane wings, with a central spar, a balsa wood structure, and plastic shrink-film as covering. An old bicycle frame was attached to an aluminum cockpit frame. More than 4 m of bicycle chain is used to connect the pedals to the propeller driveshaft.

The test flights were fun, with lots of help from friends and relatives. The power requirement was high, and the pitch control relatively sensitive. The first film clip shows an attempted take-off which just enters stall. The second film clip shows the longest flight, where the aircraft truly flew horizontally. This last attempt was close to 11 pm, that is why it is almost dark!