Already demolishing the standing world record more than twice over, a massive human-powered quadrotor designed by students at the University of Maryland is poised to make aviation history today. The Gamera II helicopter is shooting for the Sikorsky Prize, one of aviation’s last great challenges, by hovering for one full minute under human power only. Their first attempt Wednesday morning lasted 35 seconds!
Last year, UMD students set a new record for a human-powered hover that lasted 11.4 seconds. This year’s design is 30 percent lighter and is projected to hover for at least 60 seconds, which is one of the Sikorsky Prize requirements. The aircraft also has to stay within a small area and reach 9.8 feet (3 meters) in altitude.
Gamera II — Gamera is a flying turtle, in homage to the terps — is testing today at the Reckord Armory on the UMD campus in College Park. Watch a livestream here. Below, you can see a clip of the 35-second flight. Stay tuned for further updates.