Gamera-S
History
The Gamera project began as an attempt to win the American Helicopter Society's famed Sikorsky Prize. The human-powered Gamera project went through many iterations, eventually achieving flight for more than 60 seconds and a height of almost 10 feet.
In August and September of 2012, the team flew a further refined version of Gamera, Gamera II. One flight surpassed the AHS Sikorsky Competition requirement for a 60-second flight with a duration of approximately 65 seconds, while staying within a 10-meter square area (another Sikorksy Prize requirement), setting a world record. Subsequent flights of shorter duration nonetheless came close to reaching the Sikorsky Prize height requirement of 3 meters (9.84 ft). One flight reached 9.4 ft in altitude. The requirements to win the Sikorsky Prize include achieving a flight duration of 60 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3 m (9 ft 10 in). At the same time the aircraft must prove that it is controllable by remaining within a 10 m (32 ft 10 in) circle. Since the University of Maryland's mascot is a terrapin turtle, the craft is named Gamera, a nod to popular Japanese Kaiju series of films featuring a flying turtle.
Here is a list of Gamera I, II, achievements: •2014 Gamera is awarded the official US record of 97 seconds for the duration of a human-powered helicopter flight •2013 Best Paper in Advanced Vertical Flight, "Control and Stability Characteristics of Gamera II: A Human Powered Helicopter" - 69th American Helicopter Society Forum, Phoenix, Ariz. •2012 Best Paper in Aircraft Design, "Design Optimization of Gamera II: A Human Powered Helicopter" - 68th American Helicopter Society Forum, Fort Worth, Tex. •2012 Igor I. Sikorsky International Trophy, American Helicopter Society •2012 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Certified World Record for Flight Duration •2012 National Aeronautics Association U.S. National Record Certificate for Flight Duration •2012 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale World Record Certificate for Flight Duration •2012 National Aeronautics Association U.S. National Record Certificate for Flight Duration •2011 Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Certified World Record for Flight Duration by Female Pilot •2011 National Aeronautics Association Collier Trophy Nominee •2011 American Helicopter Museum Education Center Achievement Award •2011 National Aeronautics Association World Record Certificate for Flight Duration •2011 National Aeronautics Association World Record Certificate for Flight Duration by Female Pilot •2011 Dedication of Gamera I Vehicle Elements to College Park Aviation Museum
Gamera transitioned to Gamera-S in May of 2014, marking a new frontier for solar-powered aviation. On August 26, 2016, the solar powered Gamera-S flew for 9 seconds with pilot Michelle Mahon at the controls. Gamera-S is a modification of the human powered Gamera helicopter, designed to be capable of carrying a person while being powered solely by solar power. A team of undergraduate students carried out modifications to the vehicle including the selection and attachment of solar panels to the truss structure, replacing the manual string transmission with a compact electric motor and gearbox system, and a simple electronic control system that appropriates power flow to the motors. Gamera-S retains some key features such as the baseline structure, rotor hub and rotor blades.
The future is bright for Gamera-S. The team has goals to achieve flight of at least one minute, but the limits are endless. Some future side projects to achieve this include upgrading solar cells and a feedback control system to stabilize the vehicle.
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