Students from the University of Maryland were able to successfully hover its human-powered helicopter. The Gamera is a pedal-powered helicopter that hopes to win the AHS Sikorsky Prize. In honor of helicopter pioneer Igor Sikorsky, the AHS Sikorsky Prize will award a $250,000 to teams who can build and fly a helicopter that’s completely powered by a human. The project started last summer when its Gamera I was able to hover for 11 seconds. This year, after numerous improvements to its design, the team hopes to finally reach the required time limit – 60 seconds.
The students say that the Gamera II is a lighter and much stronger refinement of the Gamera I, and that it is designed for greater flight duration. On Wednesday this week, Gamera II hovered for 35 seconds. Yesterday, the human-powered helicopter upped the ante to 40 seconds. Today, the team is poised and determined to win the prize as it finally reaches 50 seconds. Another 10 seconds and the Gamera will be winning one of the grandest awards in the history of aviation. You can check out the whole project via the team’s official website.
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