OJAI : Man Who Pedaled Craft Aloft Honored

An Ojai bicyclist who piloted the first flight of a human-powered helicopter was honored Monday at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington with other students from the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo student group that built the helicopter.

Greg McNeil, 22, was unable to attend the National Aeronautic Assn. award ceremony because he is training for the 1992 Olympic bicycling team.

On Dec. 10, McNeil and a group of other Cal Poly students set a world record when he hovered for 6.8 seconds in a human-powered helicopter they had designed.

“It was great. You’re bicycling as fast as you can and then all of a sudden--you’re flying,” McNeil said Monday of the historic flight. “I bought a plane ticket to go to Washington, but I canceled it because I just didn’t have the time.”


McNeil is one of 46 men and women on the United States bicycling team vying to compete in the Olympics. He said he bicycles in about 100 races a year and is a part-time student at Cal Poly majoring in aeronautical engineering.

“I go to school one quarter a year because of the bicycling-at this rate, I’ll finish in 15 years,” McNeil said.