Human-Powered Helicopter Hovers for Nearly a Minute

Monday, June 25th, 2012

A team from the University of Maryland flew its human-powered helicopter for 50 seconds — almost long enough to win the $250,000 Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition prize:

In order to claim the prize a human powered helicopter must lift off the ground, hover for at least 60 seconds, reach an altitude of 3 meters during the flight and stay within a 10-square-meter area.

The Gamera II hardly resembles its namesake:

Like its fixed wing, human powered cousins, the delicate helicopter is a rather large, yet extremely lightweight aircraft. The entire craft has a width of 105 feet and each of the four rotors has a span of just over 42 feet, 7 inches. But despite the size of the Gamera II, it weighs just 71 pounds. That’s more than 30 pounds lighter than the original Gamera that flew last year, thanks largely to redesigned rotors and an improved truss design.

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