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Students Set Record for Human-Powered Helicopter

by Shane McGlaun
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A team of students at the University of Maryland A. James Clark School of Engineering have been hard at work trying to perfect one of the ideas that many inventors and pioneers of aviation have tried to achieve for many, many decades. That goal is human-powered helicopter flight. The students have set an unofficial flight duration benchmark with their pedal-powered helicopter dubbed the Gamera II.

The team set the unofficial flight duration record on June 20, with a time of 35 seconds. The 30-second flight has to be verified by the National Aeronautic Association and if verified will become the new record superseding the teams previous record of 11.4 seconds set last summer. The team of students is only the third team to achieve human-powered helicopter flight.

The team is vying for $250,000 prize if they can become first team to build a helicopter powered only by person to liftoff and hover for 60 seconds. The helicopter has to attain a height of at least 3 meters at some point during the 60-second flight and stay within a ten square meter area for the duration of the flight. You can check out the video of the June 20 flight above.

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