The students at the James Clark School of Engineering, University of Maryland, managed to make very mild human-powered helicopter named Gamera that will be test-fly on May 11. Gamera will compete in the Sikorsky prize rewarded by the American Helicopter Society (AHS).
Clark School team striving for a world record for human-powered helicopter flight with a female pilot on board and to win the $ 25,000 award that has not been achieved since the award was held in 1980. The helicopter maker teams including 50 graduate and undergraduate students led by faculty advisors VT Nagaraj, Inderjit Chopra and Darryll Pines as Dean of the Clark School. Meanwhile, Judy Wexler, a graduate student of University of Maryland will be a pilot in the test.
Gamera only weighs 210 pounds and has included student pilot. It was made of balsa, foam, mylar, carbon fiber and other lightweight materials. The helicopter has a rotor at each of the four ends of its X-shaped frame, and the pilot's module suspended at the middle. Each crossbar of the frame has 60 feet long, and 42 feet of diameter on each rotor. Gamera will be powered by a combination of hand and foot pedaling.
For flight test preparation as well as compete in the Sikorsky awards, the team had worked for two years to build this helicopter. The Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center in the Clark School is one of the top rotor-craft research institutions in the United States. Tests also will be witnessed by reporters and photographers.