November 21, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Photo credit: Brandon Bush, AB2Imagery
A record for human-powered helicopter flight has been certified by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for two flights made by University of Maryland students and Judy Wexler, a lightweight but powerful bicyclist. The students, some of them now graduates, built a machine they dubbed Gamera and set world records earlier this year for flight duration and flight duration with a female pilot.
The FAI certified the May 12 flight of 4.2 seconds, and the July 13 flight of 11.4 seconds, which supersedes the first.
Gamera was designed and built by a team of 50-some students at the university’s Clark School of Engineering, 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 that the original. The team hopes to have it completed in early 2012.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
The AOPA Medical Advisory Board is the latest group to urge quick action on the proposed FAA rule that would allow thousands more pilots to fly without the need for a third class medical certificate.
Mexico has lifted a requirement that pilots of arriving and departing private general aviation flights use a third party provider to file advance passenger information system (APIS) manifests.
The Perlan Project is less than a year away from the first flight of a glider being built to ride waves near the edge of space. While construction continues in Oregon, the team’s pilots are staying proficient in more ordinary aircraft.
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