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Sat, Mar 02, 2013

Gamera II Team Still Short Of Sikorsky Prize

Made Several Attempts This Week But Could Not Break 10 Feet Of Altitude

The Gamera II team from the University of Maryland's Clark School of Engineering made several attempts this week to meet the requirements of the Sikorsky Prize, but were unable to reach more than six feet of altitude in the latest iteration of the human-powered quad-copter ... the Gamera II XR.

The latest attempt was made at the Baltimore Convention Center with judges from the NAA and American Helicopter Society International looking on, according to a report in the Baltimore Sun. But they stopped after "dozens" of unsuccessful attempts. The highest altitude they were able to reach was about six feet off the convention center floor.

But while the Sikorsky Prize remains unclaimed, pilot Colin Gore told the paper flying the Gamera II XR is "one of the most thrilling things I've done in my life. More people have walked on the moon than have flown in a human-powered helicopter."

Graduate student William Staruk said that building the aircraft is relatively easy compared to powering it. He said a human being is a really poor engine.

To win the Sikorsky prize, a human powered helicopter must reach an altitude of 10 feet for at least a minute and stay within a 10X10 meter box demonstrating controllability. In August, the Gamera II team flew for 65 seconds, but came a few inches short of the 10 feet required to win the prize. The effort set a world record for flight duration by a human-powered helicopter.

(Image from UMD YouTube video shot last summer)

FMI: www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/

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