UK & World News
Pedal-Power Helicopter Heads For $250k Prize
Students at the University of Maryland in the US are a step closer to claiming a sought-after prize for a human-powered helicopter flight.
The American Helicopter Society Sikorsky Prize was introduced in 1980 but has never been claimed.
The students' helicopter, the Gamera II, achieved a world record flight of 65.1 seconds in August 2012, but failed to qualify for the lucrative prize as their craft strayed outside the required area.
The students have now designed a control system to overcome this hurdle, and have their sights firmly set on the claiming the cash reward.
Gamera II weighs 32kg (71 pounds) and is powered by a combination of hand and food pedalling.
To claim the Sikorsky prize, a helicopter must fly under human power for at least 60 seconds. The craft must also reach an altitude of three metres and remain within a 10m square.
Named after Russian-American aviator Igor Sikorsky, the prize offers a $250,000 (£164,000) reward.
Qualifying flights must be certified by a representative of the world governing body for air sports and aeronautics world records, the FAI.