Project Ornithopter was undertaken to build and fly the first successful piloted flapping-wing aircraft, nicknamed the “Great Flapper”. Design began in 1991 at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, led by Professor James D. DeLaurier and associate Jeremy Harris. This design was based on a successful quarter-scale model flown by the team earlier that year. Construction began in 1995, with the first taxi flights in 1996. The project has experienced many exciting successes including multiple runway hops and even a sustained jet-assisted flight. This has also come with a fair share of technical challenges, mishaps, and rebuilds, and the team continues to test to this day.
Todd Reichert has been involved with Project Ornithopter construction and testing since 2005, and been Chief Field Engineer since 2009. Cameron became involved in 2006, having begun with repair of the composite wing structure after a major crash.