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Gamera Team Breaks New Ground in Duration and Altitude

The University of Maryland’s Gamera human powered helicopter team broke new ground in altitude and duration in a series of flights conducted at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Va., June 24-26, 2013.

Their flight highlights included:

1) A flight that reached 10.8’ (3.3 meters) in altitude, 48 seconds in duration (piloted by Henry Enerson)

2) A flight that reached 74 seconds in duration (piloted by Brandon Draper)

3) A flight that reached 9.4’ (2.85 meters) in altitude, 60 seconds in duration (piloted by Henry Enerson)

The 74-second flight is an unofficial world record for duration. The altitude of 10.8’ marks the highest that the Gamera helicopter has ever flown.

However, the team did not meet the requirements for the American Helicopter Society (AHS) Sikorsky Prize, which requires a minimum altitude of 10’, a minimum duration of 60 seconds, and minimal lateral drift, maintaining a hover area within a 30’ x 30’ box, all in a single, “perfect” flight. The prize has remained unclaimed since its establishment in 1980. The Canadian team AeroVelo is also in swift pursuit of the AHS Sikorsky Prize. AHS experts are currently reviewing data from the AeroVelo Atlas team, which claims to have satisfied all of the requirements in a single recent flight.

Gamera's team of 51 graduate and undergraduate UMD students has achieved a series of breakthroughs in human powered flight since 2009. In August 2012, Team Gamera set an officially certified world record for duration (65.1 seconds) of a human powered helicopter with their Gamera II XR aircraft, and an unofficial world record for altitude (9 feet). Both flights were significant improvements over all previous human powered helicopter flights and garnered widespread national and international attention.

For the latest news on Gamera, visit the Gamera team's Twitter feed.

June 27, 2013


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