Students design record-breaking helicopter (w/ Video)

August 9, 2011 By Sean McCalley

University of Maryland students flew past a world record after the human-powered helicopter Gamera hovered more than twelve seconds inside the campus' Reckord Armory in early July.

Pilot and biology student Judy Wexler set the for longest human-powered by a woman. She also broke the national record for longest human-powered flight.

The previous national record was only four seconds. Gamera set this milestone earlier this year inside the university's Comcast Center.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

A twelve-second flight was completed on July 12. Gamera had crashed the day before, forcing the engineering team to spend all night repairing the helicopter.

Professor Inderjit Chopra says Gamera is continuously modified and repaired. He knows more improvements are to come, with another flight expected within the next six months.

The goal is to win the Sikorsky Prize, a $250,000 reward given by the American Helicopter Society. In order to win, a human-powered helicopter must fly at least thirty seconds, hover at least three meters above ground, and not drift outside a ten-meter square.

Explore further: In Brief: Iridium helps helicopter tracking

Related Stories

Image: X-51A Makes Longest Scramjet Flight

June 3, 2010

( -- The X-51A successfully made the longest supersonic combustion ramjet-powered hypersonic flight to date off the southern California coast on May 26. It was powered by a SJX61-2 that was first validated in ...

Swiss solar plane confirmed as multiple record-breaker

October 29, 2010

Aeronautical authorities on Friday confirmed world records for a Swiss solar-powered aircraft that flew around the clock in July, including those for the longest and highest flight by such an aircraft.

Recommended for you

Glider pilots aim for the stratosphere

November 20, 2015

Talk about serendipity. Einar Enevoldson was strolling past a scientist's office in 1991 when he noticed a freshly printed image tacked to the wall. He was thunderstruck; it showed faint particles in the sky that proved something ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 09, 2011
Why doesn't somebody design a housefly-style vortex generator? Doesn't that work at larger scales?
not rated yet Aug 09, 2011
Get Lance Armstrong on that thing and they're good to go!
1.8 / 5 (4) Aug 09, 2011
i've read about this stuff. it's only interesting because of the design applications for unmanned flight. this is never going to be practical for humans. prize or no prize, i wish there would be follow up information about what engineering and design principles lessons have been learned from this that could be applied to unmanned designs.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.