Whatever you happened to do this past week likely doesn’t match up to the students from the Clark School of Engineering at University of Maryland that broke their own record for human-powered helicopter flight. The helicopter in question, the Gamera II, relies entirely on human-power from a series of pedals for flight and was flown for 50 seconds. Considering that there’s a $250,000 prize on the line this suddenly seems a lot more impressive.
The Sikorsky Prize is a $250,000 reward designed to encourage controlled flight of human-powered helicopters. The specific details include a flight of at least 60 seconds, an altitude of three meters, and the helicopter must remain within a 10 meter square for the duration. The students behind the Gamera II still have their work cut out for them but this new flight is certainly a step in the right direction.
The Gamera II weighs a mere 71 pounds and stretches out to 105 feet. Though the team suffered a series of malfunctions and the like, they still managed to surpass their previous 11-second record from the Gamera I with a series of flights with a duration of 35, 40, and 50 seconds. Best of all, perhaps, is that they chronicled the event on video:
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