Gamera The recordbreaking helicopter powered by a human

first_imgImagine how cool it would be if you could ride a bicycle in the air. A group of students at the University of Maryland have created something that will do just that: a human-powered helicopter. Though it’s not yet at the point where it can be taken for a leisurely Sunday ride/flight, it is breaking world records.The students built the human-powered helicopter, named the Gamera, in hopes to win the American Helicopter Society’s $250,000 Sikorsky Prize which was established in 1980 to reward the first controlled flight of a human-powered helicopter. To date, it has yet to be won. To win the reward, the helicopter must stay in flight for 1 minute and reach an altitude of 9.8 feet while staying in a 32.8-foot square area.The University of Maryland team created the Gamera, and although they’ve broken several world records with it, they have yet to reach the level of the coveted Sikorsky Prize.Featured in the video below is biology student Judy Wexler, the pilot of the Gamera who just broke the national record for longest human-powered flight. The previous record was four seconds, but Wexler stayed in flight for 12 seconds this time around. Not only that, but Wexler broke the world record for the longest human-powered flight by a woman. And, after watching her pedal in the video below, we’re sure you’ll agree that she deserved it.The record-breaking event almost didn’t happen as the Gamera had a damaging crash the night before the record was to be set. This resulted in something that college kids do best: pulling an all-nighter. The engineering team repaired the helicopter over night,  and everything went off without a hitch the following day.The X-shaped Gamera is made from balsa wood, foam, mylar, and carbon fiber, and weighs just 210 pounds. Its arms are 60 feet long, and a 42-foot rotor is attached to each of them. These turn to lift the helicopter off of the ground as the pilot pedals with both her legs and arms.The team plans to continue remodeling and rebuilding it until they’re able to reach the Sikorsky Prize level.via Inhabitatlast_img read more