University of Maryland students are trying for a goal many have set out to achieve but failed: human-powered flight. In fact, much of the Internet community was recently duped by a man claiming to have built a set of “bird wings” to help him fly by flapping his arms — it was actually an elaborate case of CGI. But these Maryland students have actually achieved it with a quadrotor-like helicopter powered only by one man’s able legs.
Check out the flight that took place Thursday morning:
Here’s a slightly different angle showing Wednesday’s test flight of what New Scientist calls “the cycle-copter:”
Although these achievements are impressive, it isn’t quite enough. The students are striving for the 60 second mark as they’re vying for the Sikorsky Prize, which comes with $250,000 in winnings from the American Helicopter Society. In order to win the prize, which was established in 1980, the team must keep the man-powered vessel within a designated space and reach at least 9.8 feet high. The Atlantic reports only three teams have even been able to get their helicopters off the ground in trying to win the Sikorsky.
Wednesday was only the team’s first day of testing the newer, 30-pound lighter model.
Here’s a teaser promotional video of the ‘copter earlier this year:
The Atlantic reports the pilot of the Gamera II on Thursday, PhD. student Colin Gore, saying participating in this event is “already one of the highlights of my life.”