Welcome to the Los Altos Human Powered Airplane section.
Since its inception in 1997, the Los Altos Human Powered
Airplane (HPA) project, also known as the Grasshopper, has
been one of the longest and most challenging projects undertaken
by the students of the Engineering Technology class. More
information on the Los Altos Human Powered Airplane can
be found in its History section.
Photos of the Human Powered Airplane can be found in the
LAHPA Gallery on the Photo Galleries
In June of 2000 after four years of work, the student team
was very close to completing the airplane, and plan to attempt
to fly it over spring break in late April. However, in order
to fly the plane, the team needed to find an insurance carrier
to insure the plane so that they could reserve a hangar
at March Air Force Base in Riverside.
|“Without insurance, the team was doomed
to graduate without a chance to fly Grasshopper.
On the last week of school, in a desperate attempt,
the team moved Grasshopper to the gym on Friday
afternoon. By midnight, she was assembled. With
all the cabling tensioned, the skin tight, and the
weight and balance checked. At 2 AM disassembly
was started. At 5 AM she was moved to the football
field and reassembly started. At 2 PM with
all cables in place, Grasshopper was moved to a
take-off position (two sheets of plywood) after
several prop adjustments and chains to be tensioned.
Grasshopper was ready for flight. A breeze was blowing
and two of the gravity cables snapped. A decision
was made to go for broke. With the team holding
the wing sections up with brooms, the flight began.
The pilot, Charles Kim, started cranking hard as
Grasshopper jumped into the air. She was flying.
Everyone was amazed. Years of work and planning.
Sixty feet into the flight a propeller blade broke,
sending Grasshopper to a crash landing. The right
spar snapped on impact.”
|-An Account by Bob Franz