University of Maryland students have created a pedal powered helicopter in an attempt to claim the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize, unclaimed for more than three decades.
To claim the prize engineers must design a human powered aircraft that can hover for one minute at a height of three metres and remain within a ten metre box. As the video below shows, steering is proving a big stumbling block at the moment, with quite an expensive crash halting the record attempt’s progress at present.
The pilot is described as a ‘0.7-horsepower, 135-pound graduate student named Kyle Gluesenkamp’, while 75 students have worked behind the scenes to see the project achieve a height of eight feet to date.
The 80 pound machine must compromise between weight and strength, yet with four enormous rotors to keep an eye on, each attempt to push toward the three metre mark, minus the ability to steer, has proved costly to date.