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Sat, Nov 19, 2011

Now Internationally Official: FAI Certifies Gamera World Records

Human-Powered Helicopter Developed By University Of Maryland Engineering Program

The Federation Aeronautique Internationale has certified that the Clark School's Gamera human-powered helicopter team set world records earlier this year for flight duration and flight duration with a female pilot. The FAI certified the 4.2-second flight of May 12, 2011, and the 11.4-second flight of July 13, 2011, which supersedes the first.

Gamera was designed and built by a team of some 50 students at the Clark School, and piloted by biology student Judy Wexler. The team is currently working on a new vehicle in pursuit of the Sikorsky Prize. The new vehicle will be lighter and more efficient than the original. The team hopes to have it completed this spring.

For the May 12th flight, the 24-year-old Wexler pedaled furiously, taking the craft 3-5 inches into the air for about 4 seconds, setting a world record for human-powered helicopter flight with a female pilot. Between the flights in May flights and July 13th, the students enhanced Gamera's cockpit and transmission and added LEDs to its landing gear that turn on when the vehicle is off the ground. Judy Wexler, the biology student who piloted the record-setting flight in May, was also the pilot for the second flight.

"Our students demonstrate the combination of technical expertise and determination to succeed that will bring continued technological progress to our nation and our world," stated Clark School Dean Darryll Pines following the July flight. "During these flight tests they faced formidable obstacles when Gamera suffered its first significant structural problems, but they worked through the night to repair these and the next day achieved our best flights. Their spirit fills me with pride."

Details of the records can be viewed on the FAI web site under Experimental and New Technologies World Records/Manpowered Rotorcraft (IDs 16230, 16232, 16273 and 16274).

FMI: www.eng.umd.edu, www.fai.org


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