A Human-Powered Helicopter Closes in on a Big Prize


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If the team from the University of Maryland can get, and hold on to, just a bit more air, their Gamera II craft will win $250,000. To claim the AHS Sikorsky Prize, the pedal-powered helicopter needs to hover in the air for a minute, reach a height above three meters, and stay within a 10-square-meter area. No one has come as close as the Maryland team since the prize was established in 1980.

On Saturday morning, the team couldn't best its current record of 50 seconds. You can watch the video of that 50-second flight above. Wired has a nice write-up about how the 105-foot-wide, four-rotored, arm- and pedal-powered contraption works.

The University of Maryland team has been live streaming their attempts every morning for the past four days.

—Joe Spring