Human-Powered Helicopter Sets New Record
A human-powered helicopter unofficially set a new flight record at the University of Maryland on June 21.
CREDIT: University of Maryland
A single human pedaling furiously has set a new world record for human-powered helicopters by flying for about 50 seconds. That won't revolutionize aviation, but it could give a University of Maryland team a strong shot at winning a $250,000 prize offered by helicopter maker Sikorsky Aircraft.
The helicopter called "Gamera II" uses a quad rotor design similar to that of certain robotic drones. Its unofficial flight time on June 21 was almost five times longer than the current official record of 11.4 seconds set by a predecessor helicopter called "Gamera I."
Having a human-powered helicopter may never prove as practical for getting around as a bicycle, but several teams have worked on the flying devices to pursue the American Helicopter Society International's Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Prize. The prize requires a human-powered helicopter to hover for at least one minute and reach a height of almost 10 feet (3 meters).