The Gossamer Albatross aircraft is designed to fly long distances with a human as the only power source. This light and fragile aircraft is pushed by a propeller connected, through a series of gears, to a constantly pedaling pilot. On June 12, 1979, the Albatross, powered and guided by pilot Bryan Allen, made an historic flight across the English Channel. The record-breaking flight covered a distance of 22.25 statute miles (35.6 km) in 2 hours and 49 minutes.
The Albatross II on display was built as a backup to the record-breaking Albatross aircraft. Except for some minor design changes, this craft is identical to the Albatross that flew across the Channel. The Albatross II later took part in NASA-funded low speed stability tests and was the first human-powered aircraft to make a controlled flight inside an enclosed structure -- the Houston Astrodome.