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Human-Powered Helicopter Breaks Aviation Record

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Human-Powered Helicopter Breaks Aviation Record
[ Science]

The human-powered helicopter developed by some extremely intelligent individuals at the University of Maryland’s Clark School of Engineering has broken the record for the longest flight time by — what else — a human-powered helicopter. The device, which has been lovingly dubbed Gamera II, is constructed of carbon fiber, balsa wood and foam, for a total weight of 76 pounds. As you can imagine, getting this thing off the ground is no small task.

For the demonstration, the contraption, which is powered by the pilot’s arms and legs, was fueled by the determination of Ph.D. Kyle Gluesenkamp. From the looks of the video embedded below, he certainly gives it his all. By the time those 50 seconds are over, it’s clear that Gluesenkamp was pretty winded, which, of course, is to be expected when you’re attempting to lift a weighty helicopter off the ground using nothing but your strength and will.

Professor Inderjit Chopra, the project’s advisor, said that, in addition to the 50-second flight time, the helicopter reached an estimated height of four feet. In order to win the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition, Gamera II will have to remain in the air for over 60 seconds while maintaining a height of nearly 10 feet. When this has been accomplished, the team will receive a cool $250,000 reward from the American Helicopter Society for their efforts

Gamera II’s previous incarnation, Gamera I, was a 106-pound device that managed to stay in the air for nearly 11 seconds. According to Chopra, the team plans to meet the requirements for the reward by this August. I wish them nothing but the best of luck.

Human-Powered Helicopter Breaks Aviation Record
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  • bwwooster

    Very cool, but getting to ten feet up is going to be a LOT harder ‘cos it looks like they’re working in ground effect, kind of like a hovercraft or an ekranoplan.

  • http://godspeedgraphics.com Brian

    Looks like they need to work in a gear mechanism similar to a bicycle to make those propellers spin faster and the operator work less.

  • Paul GC

    Yeah, I can really see where this has a lot of useful, practical potential…. (Sarcasm intended.)

    Personally, I think the ingenuity of the device is matched only by its utter pointlessness.

    • ZaberTooth

      True, this device may not have a huge practical potential. Realistically, human-powered flight probably is too dificult and too expensive for any real interest.

      This helicopter, however, is not “utterly pointless”. If nothing else, this will help get more young people interested in engineering, math, and science– areas in which the U.S. could really use some more smart, interested people.

  • Kibe

    Idont understand is the chopper mechanical?or it does’nt any fuel such that it uses human powered engine or icant just understand

  • oldmanjinx

    There are people who don’t own computers or
    facebook accounts .Don’t be so Romneyish.

  • tunji alabi

    I know a time will come when men will be flying from place to place easily

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