Gamera takes off but fails to bag Sikorsky Prize

 
on May 13 2011 8:28 AM

The Gamera, the first human powered copter, designed by the students of University of Maryland, finally took off for nearly four seconds late Thursday afternoon, reports said.

After days of correcting, restructuring and examining, the craft left the ground with a woman in the pilot’s seat for the first time.

The University engineering students, for years, have worked on perfecting the vehicle which they named after a giant flying turtle that featured in Japanese movies in 1965.

The take-off was initially scheduled for Wednesday morning at the campus gym but was unsuccessful to prove anything after a failed test flight.

The students, nevertheless, labored the entire night following the failed test flight and worked on powering the rotors to more than 16 rotations per minute and returned with the Gamera the following day.

The vehicle met with an accident when one of its support arms snapped and the team stuck it back again using super glue.

The final attempt, however, was not futile when the vehicle left the ground.

“It was beautiful,” said Brandon Bush, 29, a U-Md. doctoral student and a project manager, in the university website. “It jumped up, and it stayed there.”

A spokesperson of the National Aeronautic Association estimated the Gamera was in air for about four seconds. Officials will again review the tape to see the exact time limit.

The attempt, in the end, was not enough to win the famed Sikorsky Prize as the copter failed to stay off the ground for at least a minute.

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