Instructables

Witnessing Human Flight

First posted here.

Last Friday, I drove up to Maryland to see UMD's Gamera II human-powered quadrotor. They are currently pursuing the Sikorsky Prize, established in 1980. Here's the team testing a new control system.

http://youtu.be/3B2of4V35d0 (sorry, the embed function isn't working)
 
During this test, Gamera II flew for approximately 65 seconds, unofficially tying the endurance record that the team previously set. This flight time, plus the ability to remain within a specific boundary, satisfies two requirements of the Sikorsky Prize. Because the rotors are so close to the ground, the helicopter is benefiting from a cushioning effect of the air between the rotor blades and the ground. This effect will diminish exponentially when the team attempts sustained flight at the required 3 meters.

The helicopter transfers the pilot's pedal power by unspooling cable from pulleys, mounted on the shafts of each of the four rotors. Flight time is limited by the pilot's stamina and the amount of cable stored in each pulley. The rotors are constructed of carbon fiber, balsa, and foam, and are covered in a plastic film. 

All in all, it was a cool experience. I've never seen so much carbon fiber in my life! I look forward to seeing the team win the Prize.



Picture of Witnessing Human Flight
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There's gotta be some prize out there to make Knex fly too. Interesting that the pilot spotter has to watch out for the rotors.
JamesRPatrick (author)  caitlinsdad1 year ago
Human-powered K'nex?
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