Another Flight Over The Weekend Falls Two Seconds Short
University of Maryland engineering students are still doggedly working to win the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize for human-powered helicopter flight, making another attempt over the weekend that fell just short of the 60 second flight needed to claim the prize.
The Associated Press reports that the students flew the Gamera II human-powered helicopter for 58 seconds on Sunday. It was not reported how high the aircraft got off the floor of a sports complex in Prince George's County, MD. To claim the prize, the aircraft must reach an altitude of at least 10 feet in a flight that lasts at least 60 seconds. The aircraft must also stay within a 10 meter box, demonstrating controllability.
The Gamera II team has in previous attempts managed to keep the aircraft aloft for longer than one minute. Last year, the aircraft flew for 65 seconds, but fell short of the altitude benchmark, managing only 9.4 feet.
University officials said that the aircraft was slightly damaged in an attempt early in the weekend, but was repaired in time for a Sunday attempt.
A Canadian team is also actively pursuing the prize, which was created in 1980.