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Challengefor a new Japanese record in man-powered flight

April 27, 1998

Yamaha Motor Company's voluntary club of employees dedicated to the challenge of man-powered flight, Team Aerocepsy (representative: Masato Suzuki), will attempt to establish a new Japanese distance record for man-powered flight with their craft "Gokuraku Tombo" during the month of May.

The category of man-powered aircraft in which the Yamaha employee team competes mounts a bicycle body to the aircraft which is pedaled by the pilot to turn a propeller and provide sufficient lift and forward propulsion for flight. Every summer teams from companies and institutions around Japan gather on the shores of Lake Biwa to compete in the popular "Birdman Contest."

The standing Japanese distance record for man-powered flight is the 4,436 meters flown by Yamaha's own Team Aerocepsy in May of 1992, but in the upcoming distance fight attempt the same team is aiming to extend that record dramatically to the range of 12,000 meters.

<Summary of the plan to break the Japanese record>

Record attempt schedule: May 1, 1998
Man-powered flight is greatly affected by weather conditions. In the case of poor weather conditions such as rain or wind that prohibit flight the attempt date will be extended until an appropriate date some time before May 31, 1998.
Record attempt course
Starting on the Douri beach in Asaba-cho, Shizuoka Pref., the flight will follow the shore along Enshu-nada and eventually land near the mouth of the Kikukawa river in Daito-cho, Shizuoka Pref. about 12 kilometers from the start. However, depending on the wind direction on the attempt day, the reverse course may be chosen.
Schedule on the record attempt day
3:00 AM Gather at the site, transport of the craft and materials
| Measurement of wind on the beach. If conditions are right for a flight preparations are begun.
4:00 AM Start of craft assembly
4:30 AM Completion of assembly, waiting for start
| At the moment of optimal conditions the flight will commence.
7:00 AM If conditions are still not suitable for a start by this point, the chances of the wind stopping are small and the attempt will be called off for that day. However, if the wind increases in strength sign ificantly prior to this time the day's attempt will be called off at that earlier point.
Distance goal: Approx. 12,000 m(about 40 min. in flight time)
This 12 km distance is equivalent to almost three times the present record.
An official of the Japan Aeronautic Association will be present at the record attempt to ensure official verification by the association in case a record is set.

<For your reference>

The present Japanese distance record for man-powered flight
Team Team Aerocepsy
Record 4,436.7 m
Date May 22, 1992
Place From the Fukude Beach, Iwata-gun, to Samejima Beach, Iwata City, Shizuoka Pref.

About the man-powered aircraft "Gokuraku Tombo"

"Gokuraku Tombo"
Wing span 32.0 m Wing area 28.4 square meters
Overall length 7.0 m Propeller turning diameter 2.7 m
Aircraft weight 32.0 kg Pilot weight 67.0 kg
Flying weight 99.0 kg

Technical features of the "Gokuraku Tombo"

Use of carbon fiber for light structural weight and high rigidity Sophisticated aerodynamic design achieves high level of aerodynamic and handling performance
Outfitted with adjustable-pitch high performance propeller designed with the aid of computer analysis which enables minimized power loss based on suitable choice of pitch, etc. ...

In addition

The craft to be used in this record attempt is the same one prepared for last yea's Lake Biwa "Birdman Contest," which was canceled due to the effects of a typhoon. In preparation for this record attempt, some 50 test fights have been conducted at the Fujikawa glider facility in Fuji City, Shizuoka Pref.

About Team Aerocepsy

The members

The team presently has 14 members, all of whom are Yamaha Motor Company employees working in technical/engineering fields, and their average age is 35 years old. The team was started from a group consisting of senior and junior employees, dorm mates and friends. The name aerocepsy means a sense of air flow.

Member activities

All the work for the team activities is done strictly on private time outside the individual members' normal work hours at Yamaha. For this reason, all assembly work and test flights are done either after work hours, on holidays or on paid vacation days.

Highlights of the team's record in the "Birdman Contest"
Holding Year Category Finish Fight distance Pilot
10th Birdman Contest 1986 Propeller craft 1st place 512.2 Norihiko Tanaka
10th Birdman Contest 1986 Propeller craft 2nd place 286.1 Masato Suzuki
12th Birdman Contest 1988 Glider 2nd place 214.9 Masato Suzuki
14th Birdman Contest 1990 Propeller craft 3rd place 513.7 Hironori Nakayama
16th Birdman Contest 1992 Propeller craft 1st place 2019.7 Hironori Nakayama
16th Birdman Contest 1992 Glider 1st place 232.0 Katsu Nakamura
19th Birdman Contest 1995 Propeller craft 1st place 8764.0 Hironori Nakayama
20th Birdman Contest 1996 Propeller craft 2nd place 7973.1 Hironori Nakayama
Participation in the Birdman Contest as a team began from the 7th holding (1983).

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