MSE Press Release Story

Clark School’s Gamera II Human-Powered Helicopter Team Sets New Unofficial 35-Second Flight Duration Benchmark

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  June 20, 2012

CONTACT:

Melissa Corley
301 405 6501
mcorley@umd.edu

Gamera II pilot Colin Gore pedals furiously during a flight attempt on June 20. Photo by Earl Zubkoff, Essential Eye Photographics. (Link to hi-res version.)

UPDATE, 8 a.m., June 21: Updated video below.

COLLEGE PARK, Md.—On June 20, students on the Gamera II human-powered helicopter team from the University of Maryland’s 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 team’s 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.


Updated video of the June 20 flight, which may have clocked in at 40 seconds.

The June 20 flight was accomplished with pilot Colin Gore on board the new Gamera II vehicle – a sleeker, lighter version of last year’s 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.

Gamera II in flight
Gamera II in flight. Click for the hi-res version. Photo by Earl Zubkoff, Essential Eye Photographics.

Judy Wexler’s world record for flight duration with a female pilot will still stand. All three of Gamera’s pilots this year are male.

Low-res video available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM5exq9xBHE&feature=youtu.be

More Information: 

Gamera Project Home: http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html
Gamera II: http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/gamera2/index.html
The AHS Sikorsky Prize: http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/sikorsky-prize.html

About the A. James Clark School of Engineering

The University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering is a premier program, ranked among the top 20 in the world. Located just a few miles from Washington, D.C., the Clark School is at the center of a constellation of high-tech companies and federal laboratories, offering students and faculty access to unique professional opportunities.

Our broad spectrum of academic programs, including the world’s only accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program, is complemented by a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, early hands-on educational experiences, and participation in national and international competitions.

The Clark School is leading research advancements in aerospace, bioengineering, robotics, nanotechnology, disaster resilience, energy and sustainability, and cybersecurity. From the universal product code to satellite radio, SMS text messaging to the implantable insulin pump, our students, faculty, and alumni are engineering life-changing innovations for millions. Learn more at www.eng.umd.edu.