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Team Aeroscepsy say a professional mountain biker will pilot their "Gokurakutombo", which has a wingspan half that of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet, in a voyage they hope will clock up 120 kilometres (75 miles).
"We developed a new plane from scratch to break the world record," said Shinsuke Yano, who heads a collection of 10 engineers and enthusiasts. The Gokurakutombo—a phrase that means "Happy-Go-Lucky" and is also a pun on "happy dragonfly"—has wings that measure 35.6 metres (117 feet) tip to tip, but weighs just 37 kilogrammes (81 pounds) thanks to its polystyrene foam and carbon fibre construction.
Yano said the world record for human-powered flight was set by a US university in 1988 with its pedal-driven Daedalus, a contraption named after the father of Icarus in Greek mythology. The Daedalus plopped into the Mediterranean just a few metres short of the Greek island of Santorini after flying 115 kilometres from Crete.
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