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.
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