Looks like we are on our way to human powered helicopters and students from the University of Maryland are leading the charge. They have successfully hovered their first human-powered helicopter. The Gamera is a pedal-powered helicopter. They hope to win the AHS Sikorsky Prize, named for helicopter pioneer Igor Sikorsky. It looks like they just may do it.
The AHS Sikorsky Prize awards $250,000 to teams who can build and fly a helicopter that is completely powered by a human. The project began last summer when the Gamera I was able to hover for 11 seconds. Now with improvements in the design, they hope to finally reach the required 60 seconds.
The Gamera II is a lighter and stronger version of the Gamera I, that will handle longer flights. Earlier this week the Gamera II hovered for 35 seconds. Then yesterday, they reached 40 seconds. They are almost there.