(Phys.org) -- On June 20, students on the Gamera II human-powered helicopter team from the University of Marylands 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 teams 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 years rotorcraft that features improvements to its cockpit, transmission and rotor design. Gore is a graduate student in materials science and 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 the Gamera homepage.
Explore further: Researchers use passive UHF RFID tags to detect how people interact with objects