Record Number of Human-Powered Helicopter Pilots Sets New Records

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Aerovelo, combining flight with velocipede (bicycle) propulsion provides plenty of exercise for its members on the high ground of Nevada and within the  confines of Canadian gymnasiums. Between September 9 and 14 at Battle Mountain, Nevada this year, one of Aerovelo’s little airfoil shaped recumbent bicycles hit 77.68 mph, requiring a steady hand on the controls as well as incredibly strong quadriceps.  As seen in the video at about 30 seconds, the Aerovelo team became a victim of the divergent directional stability common to these short-coupled vehicles.  Bluenose parted company with the highway when nearing 100 km/hr (62 mph).  Despite the horrendous tumble, rider Todd Reichert was unhurt and damage to the bike was mainly aesthetic.  Todd went on to …

Gamera II Does 50 Seconds

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The University of Maryland students established an unofficial world record for human-powered helicopter flight, hovering for 50 seconds and edging toward the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize offered by the American Helicopter Society.   The rules for winning are straightforward, but difficult to achieve. Build a helicopter powered only by human means Lift off and achieve a hover time of 60 seconds Achieve a height of 3 meters sometime during the 60 second flight Stay within a 10 square meter area during the 60 second flight As can be seen in last year’s record attempt, the altitude and area constraints are difficult, with little control over altitude other than adding power – already at a human maximum, and limited ability to stay within …

Lifting Yourself by a Disappearing Thread

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

The University of Maryland announced the successful 11.4 second flight of an American human-powered helicopter with a female pilot – now the National record holder and successor to the first female flight on such a machine – 17 years ago. In 1994, your editor attended a human-powered aircraft symposium in Seattle at the Boeing Museum of Flight. Paul MacCready signed my copy of Gossamer Odyssey and I was official observer (for Chris Roper of the Royal Aeronautical Society) of the first female-powered helicopter flight.  Ward Griffiths, a svelte young thing from a local bike shop, cranked the very similar (to Gamera) thing into the air for 8.6 seconds – a first and a female record at that time.  A Japanese gentleman had …