COLLEGE PARK, Md.--Students from the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering set an unofficial world record of 50 seconds for the duration of a human-powered helicopter flight, far surpassing their 2011 world record of 11.4 seconds with Gamera I and any unofficial flights of prior years. The time will be submitted to the National Aeronautic Association by judge Kris Maynard. The validation process will likely take a few weeks.
"Over the last few days we have witnessed top Clark School student engineers flying an amazing craft they designed and built, resulting in an unofficial new world record of 50 seconds," stated Clark School Dean Darryll Pines. "If you want to know where to find the future or engineering and great new technologies that will make our lives better, this is it."
Dean Pines, together with faculty mentors Inder Chopra and VT Nagaraj, challenged the team to win the American Helicopter Society's Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition, which requires that a human-powered helicopter fly for 60 seconds, achieve an altitude of three meters sometime during that time, and remain with a 10 square meter area. With its 50-second flight, Gamera II has come closer to the flight duration requirement than any other craft.
The flight occurred on Thursday evening, piloted by Kyle Gluesenkamp. Gluesenkamp is a Ph.D. candidate in the Clark School's mechanical engineering department. He was an alternate pilot for Gamera I. The other pilots who flew Gamera II during this flight session were Colin Gore and Dennis Bodewits.
The team will now continue to refine their craft and explore ways to achieve the altitude requirement of the AHS Sikorsky Prize.
The University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering is a premier program, ranked among the top 20 in the world. Located just a few miles from Washington, D.C., the Clark School is at the center of a constellation of high-tech companies and federal laboratories, offering students and faculty access to unique professional opportunities.
Our broad spectrum of academic programs, including the world’s only accredited undergraduate fire protection engineering program, is complemented by a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, early hands-on educational experiences, and participation in national and international competitions.
The Clark School is leading research advancements in aerospace, bioengineering, robotics, nanotechnology, disaster resilience, energy and sustainability, and cybersecurity. From the universal product code to satellite radio, SMS text messaging to the implantable insulin pump, our students, faculty, and alumni are engineering life-changing innovations for millions. Learn more at www.eng.umd.edu.