Apologies again for the lack of news updates. In September and October of 2009 we were rushing against the clock to get the ornithopter in the air before the cold weather closed in. Amazingly with the help of many volunteers, we did it. We succeeded in making 11 flights, culminating with a controlled full-power flight where for a brief two strokes the aircraft seemed tantalizingly close to maintaining altitude. We survived a few hard landings, a few off-field landings and several rather serious glitches with the controls, each time making the necessary repairs and being ready for the next calm morning. It was an amazing few weeks and we can't thank everyone enough.
On October 21, 2009 the push from the pilot’s legs fractured the main structural tube that makes up the drive system and supports the front skid. The aircraft landed gently, but as soon as the skid touched down the fractured tube gave way, crumpling the fuselage and turning the aircraft on its nose. The damage was extensive, but with vigour repairs were carried out within a few days.
The repairs were finished in time for one final flight day before the winter closed in. On that day the aircraft maintained altitude for a full 5 flaps, although the GPS data shows that it was loosing speed. So the season ended with excitement and encouragement for the next year.