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« Video: Judy Wexler Powers UMD 'Gamera' Off The Ground! | Main | Video: Alaska Taildraggin' At The 2011 Valdez Fly-In »

University Of Maryland Gets Human Powered Helicopter 'Gamera' To Fly! 

Live-stream screenshot showing the 'Gamera' human powered helicopter in flight

 Historic first flight!

UPDATE: 6:57pm EDT - watch the video of the flight

UPDATE: 9:01pm EDT - the hi-res version:

 After unsuccessfully attempting to fly their human powered helicopter name 'Gamera' on Wednesday May 11th (2011), the group of 50 graduate and undergraduate students from the University of Maryland gave it another go on Thursday… and all of this was streamed live on the internet! The screenshot above shows that they did indeed get off the ground with female pilot Judy Wexler providing the power - which regardless of the duration creates a record flight since no woman has flown the other two successful human powered helicopters from the past. The flight appears to have lasted several seconds and got somewhere near a foot off the gym floor, so their first major milestone of getting off the ground has been reached!

 At this point the flight record is still unofficial, but at approximately 5:25pm EDT, the human powered helicopter Gamera appears to have flown!


'Gamera' pilot/powerplant Judy Wexler - first female to fly a human powered helicopter

 Ultimately they hope to be able win the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize by flying for a duration of 60 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3 meters while remaining in a 10 meter square. The Sikorsky Prize was established in 1980 and so far no one has been able to achieve the requirements. The existing endurance record is just 19.46 seconds set by 'Yuri l' back in 1994 in Japan.

 The Gamera empty weight is just 101 pounds, and the gross weight with the pilot onboard is just 208 pounds, so you know the structure is extremely light, which also makes it very fragile. The challenge of creating a mechanical system that can turn four rotors without failing at that weight is very difficult and is the primary reason that the goals of the Sikorsky Prize have not yet been met.

 Congratulations to the University of Maryland Gamera team for their great success so far… and watch for more details on this flight coming soon.


Gamera's 4x42' rotor system and framework - empty weight: 101 pounds

Promo video for the Gamera project

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