The purpose of
this awful six-hour ride, which each pilot suffered that week, was twofold: to
test the athletes' endurance one month before the first possible flight from
Crete and to test the special fluid-replacement drink that Nadel had developed
along with Dr. James Whittam of the Shaklee Corporation, which hopes to market
it. The drink would be essential, serving both as a fuel with a high
carbohydrate content to supply energy and as a coolant to keep the pilot from
might sweat up to 30 grams a minute to dissipate heat," said Ethan Nadel,
whose beverage has been dubbed Ethan-all by his cohorts. "That equals three
pounds of water per hour, or 18 pounds after six hours. You lose sodium when
you sweat. That's why we have to keep supplying sodium."
blows away other drinks," said Frank Scioscia, another pilot. "I've
lost eight pounds in cycling competitions. After the six-hour test I didn't
lose anything. I weighed exactly the same."
But beyond the
commitment to high-tech tools, always looming behind the project was the
ancient legend of the man who flew himself out of prison. To keep that in sharp
and inspiring focus, Daedalus hired its own classicist. Sarah Morris, a
professor at Yale, was the resident expert on Greek myths. According to Morris,
who is writing a book about the mythological Daedalus, he was known in
classical Greece as a sculptor, architect and metal craftsman. Among many other
impressive projects, Daedalus built the labyrinth in which he and his son,
Icarus, were imprisoned on Crete. Icarus tried to escape on wax-and-feather
wings with Daedalus, but he ignored his father's warning not to fly too close
to the sun. Alas, his wax melted, and Icarus fell to the sea amid a blizzard of
feathers, supplying moral grist for Christians ever since.
In one sense
2 was reminiscent of Icarus's flight, for it, too, ended up as
wreckage in the Aegean Sea. Except that Daedalus 88 had carried a man aloft for
74 miles before it went down. Miraculous? Mythical? No, it was just a terrific,
even inspiring example of man working at his best. As Langford said, "There
is no practical application or financial interest in this flight. We did it
purely for the symbolism of doing it."