Shop our 2024 calendars. Now available for purchase!
Image for Ride the Wind Day

Ride the Wind Day

Industrialist Henry Kremer spurred the building of human-powered aircraft by putting up money for competitions. His Kremer prize, created in 1959, could be won by powering an aircraft around a figure-eight course that had 10-foot hurdles at its start and end, and turn points a half mile apart. Over 50 attempts were made on the course over the next 18 years. It was on today's date in 1977 that the first Kremer prize was awarded, when the Gossamer Condor completed the figure-eight course, marking what is considered the first successful human-powered flight. Ride the Wind Day commemorates this occasion. Events are held on the day at locations like museums and airfields. Building and flying kites are common activities. To celebrate, people "ride the wind" in a number of other ways.

Dr. Paul MacCready built the Gossamer Condor. Getting inspiration from watching vultures fly, MacCready believed that the figure-eight flight could be successful if the aircraft was extremely light and was flown very slowly. He structured the aircraft with the least amount of aluminum possible and covered it with a thin layer of Mylar. Wing warping modeled after the Wright brothers, as well as a tilting of the canard wing at the front of the aircraft, allowed it to turn easily.

By early 1977, the aircraft was able to make flights lasting more than five minutes. It crashed a few times, but damage usually wasn't substantial because the aircraft flew only 10 to 15 feet above the ground. It was quickly able to be repaired, such as by using Scotch tape to reinforce the Mylar. The aircraft did sustain a bigger crash in early August, which precipitated a redesign so that it weighed six pounds less. The Gossamer Condor then weighed only 70 pounds, with a wingspan of 96 feet. The historic, prize-winning flight took place at Minter Field in Shafter, California. Bryan Allen, an amateur cyclist and hang-glider pilot, pedaled the Gossamer Condor into history. On its 223rd flight, it traveled 2,172 meters at a speed of 11 miles per hour to complete the figure-eight course. The flight took just 7 minutes and 27 seconds, but we spend the whole day celebrating it each year with Ride the Wind Day.

How to Observe Ride the Wind Day

Some ideas of ways to celebrate include:

Exclusive Content

Enjoying Checkiday? It takes a lot of support from fans like you to run a free website. For exclusive content and other perks, please consider supporting us on Patreon. Thank you!


This event does not currently have a sponsor. If you'd like to increase visibility for this event while gaining exposure for yourself or your brand, you can learn more here!

Something Wrong or Missing?

We would love to hear from you! Please contact us using this form.

Observation Notifications

Would you like to be notified before the next observation? Add this event directly to your calendar with this link. You may also sign up here to be told when other notifications are available!

Also on this date…