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TODAY IN HISTORY

    SOLAR-POWERED FLIGHT
    November 20, 1980 - English Channel

    Steve Ptacek in Solar Challenger piloted its first solar-powered flight. The aircraft was designed and built by AeroVironment, Inc. (founded in 1971 by ultra-light airplane innovator, Dr. Paul MacCready). An earlier, 71-ft wingspan, solar-powered design, the Gossamer Penguin, after test flights, flew about 1.95 miles at a public demonstration on 7 Aug 1980. Solar Challenger built upon this experience to be a piloted, solar-powered aircraft strong enough to handle both long and high flights when encountering normal turbulence. With only a 46.5-ft wingspan, it had a huge horizontal stabilizer and had enough wing area for 16,128 solar cells. After design modifications, Ptacek flew across the English Channel flight on 7 July 1981.

    BICYCLE
    November 20, 1866 - U.S.A.

    The first U.S. patent on a rotary crank bicycle was issued to Pierre Lallemont of Paris, France (No. 59,915). With pedals applied directly to the front wheel, this so called velocipede ("fast foot") was a major advance on the old hobby horse bicycle that had to be pushed with the feet. It soon came to be known as "the bone shaker" because being made of stiff materials, straight angles and steel wheels, it gave a stiff ride over the cobblestone roads of the day. Soon indoor riding academies, similar to roller rinks, could be found in large cities. He rode on it from Ansonia, Conn. to the green at New Haven, Conn.

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