Pilot Henry Enerson takes Gamera II up to 8 feet in the air during a flight on August 28, 2012 (Photo by Earl Zubkoff, Essential Eye Photographics).
Above: 65-second Gamera flight on August 28, 2012.
Above: Eight-foot Gamera flight on August 28, 2012.
LANDOVER, Md. -- Students on the Gamera human-powered helicopter team at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering have unofficially satisfied two of the three American Helicopter Society Sikorsky Prize competition requirements with a flight that unofficially lasted 65 seconds, stayed within a 10 square meter area and hovered at two feet of altitude. This flight also establishes new unofficial U.S. and world flight duration records.
Pilot Colin Gore, a materials science and engineering graduate student at the Clark School, was in the cockpit for the flight.
"The key to our students' success is the professionalism they have brought to every aspect of this enormously difficult challenge," said Clark School Dean Darryll J. Pines. "Our students are not only highly creative engineers but are also able to build on past successes in a systematic way, learning and improving as they go. They would compare favorably to professional engineers anywhere."
The flight was accomplished in a revamped Gamera II vehicle. Since the flights earlier this summer, each blade has been extended and the vehicle now measures 114 feet across from blade tip to blade tip. The structure arms have been enlarged to accommodate the larger rotors.
Also, a new, more ergonomic cockpit has been built. Sonar altimeters have been added to the rotors and the cockpit to measure the height of the vehicle when it's in the air. The transmission has also been rebuilt, allowing smoother power delivery.
To win the Sikorsky Prize, the team must also achieve a height of 3 meters during a flight of at least 60 seconds that stays within the prescribed 10 square meter area. The Gamera team will work through the week to meet the competition requirements.
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.