Human-Powered Helicopter Vying For The Sikorsky Prize
The Gamera II human-powered helicopter designed and built at the University of Maryland has set a new unofficial record for flight in such a vehicle. According to a story appearing in the online publication The Blaze, the quad-rotor aircraft stayed airborne in the Reckord Armory on the campus of the University of Maryland for 40 seconds, still short of the minute needed to claim the American Helicopter Society's $250,000 award.
In a news release, the university reported that the first attempt came Wednesday, when pilot Colin Gore, on board the new Gamera II vehicle – a sleeker, lighter version of last year’s rotorcraft that features improvements to its cockpit, transmission and rotor design, managed a 35 second flight. Gore is a graduate student in materials science and engineering at the Clark School of Engineering.
A second attempt on Wednesday resulted in a broken truss arm, which the team repaired overnight. While Thursday's attempt was record-setting, it did not fulfill the requirements for the Sikorsky Prize. For that honor, an individual or team must build a helicopter powered only by human means that lifts off and hovers for 60 seconds, attains a height of three meters at some point during the 60-second flight and stays within a 10 square meter area during the flight.
Additional flights are planned in August. Gamera II is 30 percent lighter than its predecessor, Gamera I, which flew for 11.4 seconds last year. Gamera II has been sanctioned to make an official flight duration record attempt by the National Aeronautic Association. (Image captured from YouTube)