14-Aug-2012 Source: James Clark School
The National Aeronautic Association has certified theÂ June 21, 2012, flight ofÂ Gamera IIÂ at 49.9 seconds, a new national record for human-powered helicopter flight duration, and submitted flight information to theÂ Federation Aeronautique Internationale for approval as a world record.Â Gamera IIÂ was designed, built and piloted by students at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at theÂ University of Maryland, College Park.
The new record far surpasses the students’ 2011 world record of 11.4 seconds made withÂ Gamera IÂ and any prior unofficial flights by other teams.
“To prepare for outstanding careers in engineering, our students take on enormously difficult challenges such as human-powered helicopter flight and set records while they’re at it,” statedÂ Clark School DeanÂ and Farvardin Professor of Engineering Darryll J. Pines. “The knowledge, creativity and determination they exhibit is inspiringâ€”and it’s hard to match the excitement of seeing a human-powered helicopter fly!”
Dean Pines, together with faculty advisorsÂ Inderjit ChopraÂ and VT Nagaraj, challenged the team to win the American Helicopter Society’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition, which requires that a human-powered helicopter fly for 60 seconds, achieve an altitude of three meters at some point during that time, and remain within a 10 square meter area. The prize for meeting all competition requirements isÂ $250,000, offered by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. With its 49.9-second flight,Â Gamera IIÂ has come closer to the flight duration requirement than any other craft.
The flight occurred on the evening ofÂ June 21, 2012, piloted byÂ Kyle Gluesenkamp. Gluesenkamp is a Ph.D. candidate in the Clark School’s mechanical engineering department. He was an alternate pilot forÂ Gamera I.
The team will fly again later this month, and continues to refine their craft to achieve the Sikorsky Competition’s 60-second flight and the three-meter altitude requirements. Just this week, the team test-flew their craft in theÂ University of MarylandÂ Comcast Center using a tether and stayed aloft for more than 70 seconds.
News of theÂ June 21Â national record is the latest rotorcraft success for the Clark School this year. Clark School aerospace engineering graduate students this week won theÂ American Helicopter Society Student Design CompetitionÂ with Dart T690/E550, a lift and thrust compounded vertical take-off and landing aircraft. Earlier, Clark School undergraduate and graduate students were selected for six of the 19 prestigious Vertical Flight Foundation Scholarships awarded by the American Helicopter Society in 2012.
The Clark School is home to theÂ Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center, led by DirectorÂ Inderjit Chopra.