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Posted by on Oct 20, 2012 in Science, Technology |

Helicopter-human, a challenge to the University of Maryland

Helicopter-human, a challenge to the University of Maryland

It is possible that, through advertising or a documentary about the history of , we have seen some examples of the first, and unsuccessful, prototyping machine with a flying man with his own arms moving propeller of an airplane . Trying to push an aircraft with an individual effort, to date, has always been an impossibility, but the University of Maryland in a group of students with the idea of reaching a major aviation milestones: Sikorsky Prize , ie the construction of a helicopter can fly through the exertion of a person .

This singular challenge has been proposed by the American Society of helicopters and, for now, no one has been able to do despite the succulent endowment prize: $250,000. The idea of the challenge is “simple”: build a helicopter without engine and where a person endowed with rotors moving through your physical effort and, in addition, the aircraft must be able to reach a height of 3 meters in under a minute.

It is an challenge. No one has done it before

The requirements are far from simple and, in fact, the award is called desert since decades so with the idea of entering the aviation history, since 2008, the University of Maryland is working on the project Gamera (indeed, like the giant tortoise ) which have already spoken about 75 engineering students (an interesting way to put their knowledge into practice) and, after 20 failed tests, last year was able to fly for 50 seconds.

And how can you build a helicopter so light as to be raised by the movement of the arms or legs of someone? Drawing on lightweight materials like carbon fiber tubes, Styrofoam or thin wood that allow develop a vehicle that weighs around 50 kilograms. The weight of the aircraft must be added the weight of the engine-driver who, logically, must have sufficient physical shape to move the rotors and also does not penalize the overall weight, a rather complicated equilibrium point for the team the project.

Besides the Maryland team, in Ontario (Canada) are also working on a helicopter to overcome this challenge, the team AeroVelo with its prototype Atlas but, for now, neither team has been able to meet the requirements bases for the contest.

Well worth checking out photos and videos of both teams because, although it may seem that the competition does not make much sense, is an interesting way to apply the concepts learned during the years of study of these young engineers.

Picture: NPR

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