Students fly human-powered helicopter

May 13, 2011 at 1:00 PM
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BALTIMORE, May 13 (UPI) -- Students at the University of Maryland are claiming a world record after their human-powered Gamera helicopter rose above a gymnasium floor.

After two days of tests and failed attempts, on Thursday afternoon the craft's rotors were able to pull it a foot into the air as pilot Judy Wexler pedaled furiously, The Baltimore Sun reported.

"Not even a question. We don't have to review the videotape. Absolutely amazing," team leader Brandon Bush, 29, said.

Kristan R. Maynard, a judge assigned by the National Aeronautic Association to certify the record attempt, said, "As is always the case in these types of efforts, any attempt is a pending result."

The NAA and the Federation Aeronautique Internationale in Switzerland will review the video and other data, she said.

"It sure looked good to me," Maynard said, "but at this point it's unofficial."

Gamera, named for a giant flying turtle in Japanese monster movies, has a central cockpit surrounded by four 43-foot rotors. While Wexler, 24, pedals at 120 rpm, the giant blades spin at 18 rpm.

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