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Life-Size Flying Nausicaä Glider Gets 1st Public Test Flight

posted on by Lynzee Loveridge

The life-size Möwe (Mehve in English) jet-assisted glider from Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind film took to the skies above Hokkaido on Sunday for its first public test flight. 50-year-old artist and the glider's pilot Kazuhiko Hachiya soared above spectators at Takikawa Skypark.

The moment was the culmination of years of work. The glider started as the "Open Sky" project dating back over 10 years. Hachiya flew his jet-engined powered M-02J model in 2014. A previous model was shown at Nippon2007, Asia's first WorldCon science-fiction convention. Sunday's flight proved the glider could fly 70 meters with Hachiya steering using just his body weight before coming down for landing. The entire flight lasted about five minutes.

The Mehve replica weighs in at 100 kilograms (220.5lbs) with wings outstretched to 9.6 meters (31.5ft). Its wings' frames are made of wood. Hachiya built the glider with the support of engineers at an aircraft manufacturing company. The team continues to work on perfecting the model through trial and error.

Source: Yasuhito Watanabe at The Asahi Shimbun

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