/Preparation of revolutionary performance glider flight at the beginning of the 21st century./

In the long run, we have been preparing for flying performances that will advance the capacities of man in the aviation sport – glider flying to the very peak of human and technical possibilities for the benefit of research results and measurements usage in many areas of human knowledge:

  1. reaching of the 30km altitude,
  2. attempt at crossing the Atlantic from the USA to Europe,
  3. promotional and investigative encirclement of the Earth in laps,
  4. absolute encirclement of the Earth with the aid of only wind and the Sun, and
  5. 5. encirclement of the Earth with a solar power-propelled glider, highly aerodynamically crafted to lower the propulsion power requirements aimed at the use in future for the research and tourist purposes.

Record flights will be accompanied by a meteorological research of the Earth`s atmosphere, aimed at the handling of all special aerodynamic phenomena in this layer of the atmosphere for aircraft heavier than air, and the capacities of man to control the aerial layer of the Earth, so important for life on this planet, in a more sophisticated way and not to corrupt it with his interferences.

History and the present state of things.

The Icada project was born in the seventies. The first step in its gradual development was our high-altitude flying in wave airflow in the High Tatras, a mountain range in the north of Slovakia. This medium sized mountain massif has a suitable shape for the creation of ascending wave airflow into stratospheric heights to both south and north wind.

With many friends who took part in the modern technical equipment of the all-metal Blaník glider designed to break world records, we prepared survey flights from 1975 until 1982 at the Spišská Nová Ves and Poprad airfields that are in the close proximity to the High Tatras peaks. We made the first attempts with special army equipment designed for flights into the stratosphere. We made use of our experience from the wave flights in this mountainous terrain from 1961 when I reached, still with imperfect equipment for high altitude flights, the height of 10 540 metres. My cogitations went as far as thinking of what performances would be achievable in a high altitude flight from one mountain range to another, or across several continents with the use of high-speed air flows in high altitudes. This is how the plan leading to the encirclement of the Earth, rather fantastic for that epoch, came into existence.

A well prepared, interesting project of high altitude flights from the 70`s did not reach its goal to break the 15km limit, with the possibility to get to the altitudes over 20 kilometres with this modern technical equipment. We were not allowed to start in promising high altitudes meteorological conditions. It was not our fault that we could not make use of eight high-altitude meteorological situations suitable for flights over 15km, and in one case even unique conditions for the presumed goal of 24km altitude. The initiative of people leading to aviation pioneering was suppressed at that time. Still, the numerous observations, comparisons of meteorological situations and acquired experience from these high-altitude flights with the 11km altitude reached and breaking of a new women`s altitude record of 10.200 metres were invaluable with respect to the development of further plans.

The greatest embarrassment and mistake of the whole wasted effort was the impossibility to make use of the almost heaven-sent offer of a famous pioneer of wave-flying Dr. Joachim Kuetner, prominent representative of the World Meteorological Organization to financially support the research flights on the lee side of the High Tatras, as well as an offer of collaboration with the Polish glider pilots in Nowy Targ on the other side of those mountains. This newly born international collaboration could form an important landmark and a start to acquire new knowledge about the air flow and wave movements in the atmosphere. The wish of luck from Dr. Kuetner in our limited conditions was the only encouragement as well as a challenge to at least quietly dedicate ourselves to these grandiose plans. With that, the program of high-altitude flights with the presumption of intercontinental long-distance flights, planned in our country as well as in other parts of the world, was suspended. It only became an interesting part of history in the initial effort to conquer the stratosphere without motor propulsion, only with the aid of the sun and wind.

How could the future encirclement of the Earth proceed with a motorless plane? Even today this matter is rather incomprehensible to uninitiated people, how such a deed could be achievable without any motor power. All the concepts of big dateless achievements are connected with a motor-propelled plane or a balloon in which the record flights are much easier to execute. A glider without an additional drive must always lose energy in static air. It has only one chance to execute long-distance flights – to seek and use the areas where the air moves upwards.

To accomplish a flight around the world with the aid of sun energy and wind only, without a motor or any other means of flight, that sounds rather like a fantasy. Of course, the fulfilment of such performances will depend, beside a strong personal conviction, on a most important thing – financial backing as a basis to begin with the technical preparations of this project.

The essentials features of the design of a high-altitude glider with the use of the most up-to-date technologies and scientific knowledge are ready. The handling of the problem with aerodynamic phenomena in exceptionally high altitudes around 20km that no one has reached with a glider yet, low air pressure, lack of oxygen and low temperatures is a still open issue, but it can be overcome. The reaching of the altitude over 20km (the contemporary world record is just beyond the 15km limit) is possible only with the use of newly developed space suits. But we must still mind fact that the handling of a glider in altitudes over 25km has not been yet tried. The dynamics of turns or stalls in the very thin air is different. The accessories of a high-altitude glider, its controls, security equipment and the preparation of the crew with insight into the complexity of air flows in the environmental air of the Earth – those are in general the facts that must be respected.

Record and research flights of glider pilots in the USA, New Zealand and Argentina together with the measurements of intensity, extent and altitude reach of air waves made by meteorological balloons and NASA aircraft prove partially the practicality of the fulfilment of a larger-sized project, which we are presenting here. They are convincing enough to leave no doubt about the real fulfilment of the courageous Icada project. The aforesaid measurements and observations of the pearly clouds incidental to high altitudes proved strong ascending fields even in the altitudes over 30km in mountain areas near the poles. This is the most convincing result of human knowledge against all arguments, which could be called against this adventurous project. Without visions and timeless thinking, there could never be grand plans and goals, and the greatest dreams of mankind would never materialise to later surprise the uncommitted people.

The American Perlan project (originally designed for the research of the atmosphere of the Mars), whose goal is also the reaching of the record altitude of 30km in a glider in the atmosphere of the Earth is admirable and realistically set. Also the Swiss project in preparation, aiming at the encirclement of the Earth by a plane driven by the solar energy needs to be estimated and considered a unique deed of aviation pioneering, perfectly usable for the inhabitants of our planet already in the near future.

New epoch, new conditions.

After 1989 when essential political changes in the countries of Eastern Europe occurred, it was possible to think more realistically. This is why we looked for ways for transferring the fulfilment of the Icada programme somewhere else. However, the attempt at its transfer to the USA failed because our pilot Hana Zejdová, my daughter, was not allowed to take part in the men`s World championship taking place in Uvalde in 1991, where she duly qualified among men on a prominent position. It was in the USA, during this world championship, in the meeting place of the best pilots and numerous experts. The collaboration was to begin with what might be described as "one small step for a man, and one giant leap for mankind" in goals of discovery, if we may paraphrase the American astronaut Armstrong in his message to the people on the Earth after the successful landing of the Apollo lunar module on the Moon. In such a difficult situation, it was only Australia that we could consider suitable for the gradual implementation of the Icada project, so that we should not have remained at standstill. Unfortunately, it was suitable "only" for the use of thermic air flows for record flights. And even though this emergency did not fit exactly into our plans, it was the only possibility to continue in the Icada project, although it was in a slightly different direction than was planned – to use the terrains with wave air flow from the beginning.

Alas, we had not the financial or technical means to accomplish the plan of new wave flights in the USA and for a later invitation of Argentinean gliders to their newly discovered terrain suitable for great performances in a wave behind the Cordilleras. Therefore we had to choose the Australian continent as a springboard for further activities, with a great hope for the help of the locals, although then, immediately after the fall of the iron curtain, that continent was quite unknown to us. With great interest we watched the record flights of German pilot H. W. Grosse that he had achieved there. Australia became a promising continent to us, although we went there to beat records with bare hands. It was our refuge for a long time, much longer than we had planned and for a longer time than was required by the preparation of the Icada project. The result was the achievement of over fifty FAI world records and many important primacies by Hana Zejdová. The appraisal of the FAI with Otto Lilienthal`s golden medal for our pilot was a great stimulation and reinforcement of our courage to continue with the Icada project.

Further transfer of flights to wave terrains in the USA or Argentina still depends on the finances and approach of the sponsors that will allow us to acquire suitable basic aviation technologies. Unfortunately, we have a very limited access to financial means to secure such a demanding programme. We tried several times to acquire a first-class glider to secure the Icada programme. Among others, a fist-class glider Nimbus 4Mi was adapted for advanced performances according to our specifications during the manufacture in the German company Schempp-Hirth. But in the end we could not get it. Another chance was to acquire the ASH 25Mi glider. That was eventually bought by Steve Fossett for his record flights, after we had lost the battle for the finances.

How to go on and how to support the implementation of the project with many goals that have no analogy in the sports aviation.

Our effort is to transfer the whole Icada project into the hands of responsible collaborators anywhere in the world. We expect understanding and mutual collaboration on the interesting goals of the international aviation, which will advance, in a goodly leap, the level of human performance, acquirement of new and most of all verified knowledge about air flow in the stratosphere or the so far unclarified meteorological and aerodynamic phenomena.

It is evident that the grand and timeless performances that the Icada project represents overreach the capacities of just a handful of people, although they dispose of a great vision and the courage to reach these goals. It is a task for a wide international collaboration of scientists and flying aficionados with the support of sponsors. The schedule and budget for the whole project are ready. Also the technical designs are ready that will allow, with the provision of a financial backing, the Icada project to be systematically accomplished during several years. Also the modern technologies and results of the scientific investigations in the wide area of human knowledge are so advanced and ready to use that it is only a matter of time to suitably articulate them together to reach this goal. He who manage to do so first, who dare to fulfil such a timeless pioneering project, which belongs rather to the realm of dreams to many people, will prove to the whole world the enormous technical advance of the contemporary human society. It should be the interest of us all to master this part of this aviation pioneering, the area no one has dared to tread so far.

Mankind is magnificent with its results in the conquest of the universe. However, many down-to-the-ground goals, as we might call them, remained in the shadow of this cosmic success and still wait for their conquerors. There are still so many unentered matters that leave the humans reluctant, until someone brings these secrets to light with his discoveries or grand pioneering deeds.

We aspire to create an international preparative technical team that could continue the unfinished Icada project. We have already led some negotiations in this sense. For that, we are looking for financial support from those who are willing to dedicate the means and energy to the grand goals of mankind, which this grandiose project undoubtedly represents.

For the beginning, to provide unequivocal proofs and to win mutual trust, it would be sufficient to support the first big goal of this project – reaching of the highest possible altitude where man can get with a glider heavier than air. This does not require very heavy finances. After that, the way to the fulfilment of other stages of the Icada project would surely be free.

We are at the disposal with our team to create an organization to collaborate on the beginning of design, ready to develop this great project and give it an organizational and technical foundation.

On behalf of the collaborating team:

  • Vladislav Zejda, author of the project
  • Hana Zejdová, executive, pilot
  • Ing. Jan Buček, administration worker
  • Prof. Dr. Milan Daněk, DrSc, aerodynamics and flight mechanics
  • Ing. Milan Soukup, aviation specialist, graphic artist
  • Milan Bouška, advertising and publicity, director of anamax s.r.o. advertising agency
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