Human-Powered Helicopter Team Sets New Unofficial 35-Second Flight Duration Benchmark

Human-Powered Helicopter Team Sets New Unofficial 35-Second Flight Duration Benchmark 22 Jun, 12, Source: Clark School of Engineering

On June 20, students on the Gamera II human-powered helicopter team from the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering set a new, unofficial flight duration record of approximately 35 seconds. If verified by the National Aeronautic Association, this new time will supersede the team’s previous world record of 11.4 seconds set last July.

The Gamera II team is one of at least three competing in the American Helicopter Society Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition this summer. To win the $250,000 competition, 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.

The June 20 flight was accomplished with 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. Gore is a graduate student in materials science engineering at the Clark School.

Later in the day, a truss arm on Gamera II failed during a subsequent test flight. The team is repairing the vehicle overnight and plans to resume testing on Thursday. The team hopes to reach a flight duration of 60 seconds (one step towards completing the AHS Sikorsky Prize goals). Once flight tests resume, the Clark School will continue to provide a live stream of the flights on theGamera homepage.

Judy Wexler’s world record for flight duration with a female pilot will still stand. All three of Gamera’s pilots this year are male.

Low-res video available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM5exq9xBHE&feature=youtu.be

More Information:

Gamera Project Home: http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html

Gamera II: http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/gamera2/index.html

The AHS Sikorsky Prize: http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/sikorsky-prize.html

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering

The Clark School of Engineering, situated on the rolling, 1,500-acre University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md., is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S., with graduate and undergraduate education programs ranked in or near the Top 20. In 2011, the Clark School was ranked 11th in the world by the Institute of Higher Education and Center for World-Class Universities in its Academic Ranking of World Universities. Three faculty members affiliated with the Clark School were inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2010.

The school, which offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals, is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. The Clark School garnered research awards of $171 million last year.  With emphasis in key areas such as energy, nanotechnology and materials, bioengineering, robotics, communications and networking, life cycle and reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and aerospace, the Clark School is leading the way toward the next generations of engineering advances.

Visit the Clark School homepage at www.eng.umd.edu

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