49.9-seconds: Gamera II sets new flight duration record for human-powered helicopters

Aug 10, 2012

(Phys.org) -- The National Aeronautic Association has certified the June 21, 2012, flight of Gamera II at 49.9 seconds, a new national record for human-powered helicopter flight duration, and submitted flight information to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for approval as a world record. Gamera II was designed, built and piloted by students at the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park.

The new far surpasses the students' 2011 world record of 11.4 seconds made with Gamera I and any prior unofficial flights by other teams.

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

"To prepare for outstanding careers in engineering, our students take on enormously difficult challenges such as human-powered helicopter and set records while they're at it," stated Clark School Dean and Farvardin Professor of Engineering Darryll J. Pines. "The knowledge, creativity and determination they exhibit is inspiring—and it's hard to match the excitement of seeing a human-powered helicopter fly!"

Dean Pines, together with faculty advisors Inderjit Chopra and VT Nagaraj, challenged the team to win the American Helicopter Society's Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition, which requires that a 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 is $250,000, offered by the Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. With its 49.9-second flight, Gamera II has come closer to the flight requirement than any other craft.

The flight occurred on the evening of June 21, 2012, piloted by Kyle Gluesenkamp. Gluesenkamp is a Ph.D. candidate in the Clark School's mechanical engineering department. He was an alternate pilot for 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 the University of Maryland Comcast Center using a tether and stayed aloft for more than 70 seconds.

This weekend, the team will present an exhibit at the Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va. as part of the Smithsonian Super Science Saturdays series.

News of the June 21 national record is the latest rotorcraft success for the Clark School this year. Clark School aerospace engineering graduate students this week won the American Helicopter Society Student Design Competition 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.

Explore further: Researchers use passive UHF RFID tags to detect how people interact with objects

More information:
Gamera Project Home: www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html
;
Gamera II: www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/gamera2/index.html
;
The AHS Sikorsky Prize: www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/sikorsky-prize.html
Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center: www.agrc.umd.edu/

Related Stories

Swiss solar plane confirmed as multiple record-breaker

Oct 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

Intellectual property in 3D printing

Apr 16, 2015

The implications of intellectual property in 3D printing have been outlined in two documents created for the UK government by Bournemouth University's Dinusha Mendis and Davide Secchi, and Phil Reeves of Econolyst Ltd.

World-record electric motor for aircraft

Apr 16, 2015

Siemens researchers have developed a new type of electric motor that, with a weight of just 50 kilograms, delivers a continuous output of about 260 kilowatts – five times more than comparable drive systems. ...

Space open for business, says Electron launch system CEO

Apr 15, 2015

Space, like business, is all about time and money, said Peter Beck, CEO of Rocket Lab, a US company with a New Zealand subsidiary. The problem, he added, is that, in cost and time, space has remained an incredibly ...

User comments : 0

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.