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Author Topic: Human Powered Helicopter Record Attempt  (Read 8885 times)
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AeroStar
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« on: May 10, 2011, 05:46 AM »

Since this has a flying element, thought I'd post up this story. Tomorrow (Weds 5/11/11), University of Maryland will attempt to set a record for human powered helicopter flight. If they can sustain a 60 sec hover at a min altitude of 3 meters, up for grabs is the Sikorsky Challenge prize of $250,000. Also notable is the aircraft will be powered by a female pilot. I suspect she will be a competitive cyclist (most likely a track racer given the high intensity, short interval required).

A promo video is shown below and HERE is an article with more info. Amazing how huge this structure is yet only weighs about 200 lbs (including pilot!). Current record is just under 20 secs set by a Japanese team back in 1994. If UMD wins this challenge, it will be an amazing feat of engineering and athleticism. Should be exciting and good luck to them!

UMD Gamera Human Powered Helicopter Promo

-Paul
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 05:59 AM by AeroStar » Logged
mikenchico
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2011, 07:05 AM »

Wish them luck too.

It's not surprising to have a woman pilot, as I recall the female of our species has equal lower body strength to the males, males may have an advantage in upper body strength. Not carrying the additional unused weight of the increased upper body mass of a male would be a benefit. I'm guessing the rules don't allow for stored energy even if the energy was originally provided by human power?

 
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2011, 08:18 AM »

Very cool! Paul, thanks for posting those links.

I'll be watching to see how they fare tomorrow. I hope they do well!
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Bob
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« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2011, 08:25 AM »

as I recall the female of our species has equal lower body strength to the males, males may have an advantage in upper body strength.
Surely then, this would make female cyclists very competitive against males, but this is not the case at all.

-Frazer
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DecSkybirds
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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2011, 09:21 AM »

Lance armstrong could probably fly the thing to the moon  Smiley
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AeroStar
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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2011, 06:16 PM »

It's not surprising to have a woman pilot, as I recall the female of our species has equal lower body strength to the males, males may have an advantage in upper body strength. Not carrying the additional unused weight of the increased upper body mass of a male would be a benefit. I'm guessing the rules don't allow for stored energy even if the energy was originally provided by human power?

Correct, rules state "Human power only" so no regenerative sources can be used.  And speaking of the pilot, here is a photo of her training in the test rig:



She definitely looks perfect for this challenge (i.e. petite yet strong!). Hope so since she'll have to sustain about a 1 HP output (746 Watts) for the entire flight. Oh yeah, note how she is also using hand pedals. They estimate this will add approx 10% more power than just legs alone.

If the UMD team even gets off the ground that will be an accomplishment in itself. It's been 30 years since the inception of the Skorsky Challenge, yet there have only been two teams to successfully get a human powered helicopter airborne.

-Paul
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Chooks
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« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2011, 02:10 AM »

Geez did it come off?HuhHuh? Did they achieve it?Huh
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AeroStar
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« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2011, 04:49 AM »

Geez did it come off?HuhHuh? Did they achieve it?Huh

As I write this, the test should start in about 1 hour. Here is the main page for the Gamera project at UMD:

http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html

There you will find a link to view live streaming of the test flight. The video broadcast should start today at 9 AM EST. Note: You will be prompted to install MS Silverlight if not already on your computer.  If you miss the live feed, recorded video will still be availalbe at that same link. Smiley

-Paul
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Chooks
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« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2011, 06:38 AM »

Thanks for that.  It's currently 9:38pm on the 11th here. Got a bit ahead of myself eh??? Grin
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indigo_wolf
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« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2011, 07:00 AM »


>>> Live Video Feed <<<
(Will hold video recording for archive after the attempt is complete)

ATB,
Sam
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misterbleepy
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« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2011, 07:50 AM »

they're just about to start the first test
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mikenchico
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« Reply #11 on: May 11, 2011, 11:08 AM »

Just so none of you watch the 3 hours and 15 minutes of the pre recorded video from this morning thinking you might see the flight, the test has been delayed until 3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time due to mechanical problems.

At about 2 minutes in to the pre recorded video you can watch the pilots introduction, Judy Wexler is a petite young lady, there are two backup male pilots, but they can't find Kyle  Cheesy

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AeroStar
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« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2011, 07:21 AM »

UPDATE:  Second test rescheduled for today 5/12.  Live Streaming Video available HERE and should start at about 11 AM EST.

Below is an older video showing the first ever successful flight of a human powered helicopter. Designed at California Polytechnic Univ, it's called the Da Vinci III and hovered for 8 secs back in 1989.

The only other documented flight was the Yuri 1 by Nihon Univ in Japan. They have the current record of 19.46 secs set in 1994. So hopefully, the UMD Gamera will surpass that time today. Will they also win the Sikorsky Challenge? I just don't see that happening (at least not yet!)

Da Vinci III flight: Human Powered Helicopter


-Paul
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DWayne
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« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2011, 08:21 AM »

They may break the record for sustained flight. But I don't think they'll be able to get more than a meter of altitude.

Denny
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« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2011, 09:30 AM »

They're about to try it again now
9:30 am Pacific Time
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