The Gamera team poses for a photo after the record-setting flight (Photo by Brandon Bush). (View the hi-res version).
UPDATE 5:15 PM EST, MAY 13: The Clark School expects to receive word on certification early next week and will issue a complete release at that time. Meanwhile, interested parties may obtain information at the website of the Clark School’s Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center.
COLLEGE PARK, Md.--A team of more than 50 students at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering has succeeded in flying their human-powered helicopter, Gamera.
Pilot Judy Wexler, a 24-year-old biology graduate student at UM, pedaled furiously, taking the craft several inches into the air for about 4 seconds, setting a world record for human-powered helicopter flight with a female pilot.
The National Aeronautical Assocation (NAA) must still review the video, which should happen by Friday morning, before they will announce the official results.
An official statement from Clark School Dean Darryll Pines will be coming later this evening or tomorrow morning, along with pictures and video.
Kristan Maynard, a judge from the NAA, announced that the flight looked successful, but that official verification will require viewing the video, which will likely occur by tomorrow morning. At that time, high-definition video also will be made available on our web site. Low-definition video will become available as soon as possible this evening.
For updates, additional statements, photos and video, please refer back to this page. Follow the Clark School on Twitter (@ClarkSchool) for further updates.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM CLARK SCHOOL DEAN DARRYLL PINES:
"On May 12, 2011 at approximately 5:30pm, in the auxiliary gym of the Comcast Center on the campus of the University of Maryland, the human-powered helicopter Gamera, designed and built by graduate and undergraduate students of the A. James Clark School of Engineering and piloted by biology student Judy Wexler, achieved unofficial lift-off of 3-5 inches and hover time of approximately 4 to 6 seconds.
Kris Maynard, the judge from the National Aeronautics Association, announced that the flight looked successful, but that official certification will require viewing of video footage, which will likely occur on the morning of May 13. You may see flight video here.
According to Mr. Maynard, no previous human-powered helicopter flight has been certified. Thus, if the Gamera flight is certified, the vehicle will be the first in history to do so. Even if not certified, the Gamera flight will be the first to be piloted by a woman. This is a major accomplishment for the Clark School of Engineering and its fantastic faculty, staff and students.
I am incredibly proud of this amazing feat of engineering and physical prowess, and grateful to faculty mentors Drs. Inderjit Chopra, V.T. Nagaraj, and J. Gordon Leishman. Today’s flight of Gamera is a fitting symbol of our excellence in rotorcraft research and education, and our first step toward winning the Sikorsky Prize. For more information, see the Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center website."
The Clark School of Engineering, situated on the rolling, 1,500-acre University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md., is one of the premier engineering schools in the U.S., with graduate and undergraduate education programs ranked in or near the Top 20. In 2012, the Clark School was ranked 14th in the world by the Institute of Higher Education and Center for World-Class Universities in its Academic Ranking of World Universities. Three faculty members affiliated with the Clark School were inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2010.
The school, which offers 13 graduate programs and 12 undergraduate programs, including degree and certification programs tailored for working professionals, is home to one of the most vibrant research programs in the country. The Clark School garnered research awards of $171 million last year. With emphasis in key areas such as energy, nanotechnology and materials, bioengineering, robotics, communications and networking, life cycle and reliability engineering, project management, intelligent transportation systems and aerospace, the Clark School is leading the way toward the next generations of engineering advances.