Human-Powered Helicopter Sets Flight Record [Video]

A group of students at the University of Maryland have just set a flight record with their human-powered helicopter. The Gamera II managed to stay airborne for 50 seconds, beating the previous record, set by the Gamera I, of 11.4 seconds.

ANI reports that the human-powered helicopter is 105 feet across but only weighs 71 pounds. The pilot sits in the middle of the helicopter and uses foot and hand pedals to turn the four rotor blades.

The Gamera II was built by a group of students at the Alfred Gessow Rotocraft Center who are hoping to win the $250,000-dollar Sikorsky Prize from the American Helicopter Society.But in order to do so, they’ll have to get the Gamera II 10 feet off the ground for 60 seconds.

The human-powered helicopter’s 50 second flight is unofficially the new world record. The team has been sanctioned by the National Aeronautic Association to make an official attempt at the flight duration record this August.

The team is a long way away from meeting the requirements for the Sikorsky Prize but they are closer than anyone else. Here’s a video of Gamera II’s 50 second flight.

Do you think a human-powered helicopter will ever be able to fly 10-feet or higher for more than a minute?