UK & World News

  • 28 February 2013, 15:10

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.

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