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Aviation History With Human Powered Helicopter

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Students at the University of Maryland want to make aviation history by building the world's first human-powered helicopter.

In 1980, the American Helicopter Society announced an award for the first person to accomplish such a feat.

The $250,000 Sikorsky Prize would go to a vehicle that could hover for 60 seconds, not stray beyond a three-meter-square area, and at some point in the flight reach an altitude of three meters.

The prize has gone unclaimed for 33 years, but the student engineers are confident they can bring it home.

What seemed impossible when William Staruk began his PhD studies at the University of Maryland three years ago, is now within reach. He's part of a 50-member team developing a flyer called the Gamera II.

“It has flown for 60 seconds and on a different flight gone to an altitude of nine feet [2.7 meters]." Staruk said. "We’re hoping now to combine both of those into a single flight, get that little bit of extra altitude we need and keep the helicopter controlled and stable so that we can take home the $250,000 Prize.”

That is totally cool. Engineering is the best vocation, hands down.

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Keeping the discs in ground effect, clever.

Indeed. Not like it's a new concept, but it is still a human powered vehicle using spinning blades/wings to fly.

Russians mastered this ages ago, in larger scale and with ulterior motives.

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Indeed. Not like it's a new concept, but it is still a human powered vehicle using spinning blades/wings to fly.

Russians mastered this ages ago, in larger scale and with ulterior motives.

The Caspian Sea Monster :D.

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I doubt they'll be able to achieve translational lift with that design though.

They have got to 2.7 m in the OP, which is pretty much out of the ground effect/boundary layer region, on this scale.

That lad must be bloody well fit. Perhaps they can get disgraced Lance Armstrong to power it?

EDIT: I hope that the $250k Sikorsky prize goes to the students and not the University, plus jobs in the designers seats in their engineering office.

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Most conventional helicopters have their disc a metre or two above the ground and still benefit from ground effect. With this design they they have put the discs below the airframe. Great achievement, even if the task was a bit meaningless as without translational lift it's not going far.

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Most conventional helicopters have their disc a metre or two above the ground and still benefit from ground effect. With this design they they have put the discs below the airframe. Great achievement, even if the task was a bit meaningless as without translational lift it's not going far.

Give them a chance. Nano-materials are making impossible things possible every day. Fabulous time to be an aeronautical engineer really.

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Give them a chance. Nano-materials are making impossible things possible every day. Fabulous time to be an aeronautical engineer really.

True. Just think what Burt Rutan could achieve if he were just starting his career.

Edit: Or Igor Sikorsky.

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True. Just think what Burt Rutan could achieve if he were just starting his career.

Edit: Or Igor Sikorsky.

Yes, totally amazing.

Or my personal favourite and perhaps the enigmatic engineer of history, Wernher von Braun.

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what if they put it on 3m high legs, started the flight and dropped the legs.....et voila...3M flight, the only way is down, all he has to do is make the down 1minute long?

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Most conventional helicopters have their disc a metre or two above the ground and still benefit from ground effect. With this design they they have put the discs below the airframe. Great achievement, even if the task was a bit meaningless as without translational lift it's not going far.

Yes, think about it. The rotor on a 22 must be about 3 metres above ground level so say 4 meters in a low hover.

Just looked it up, 2.72 metres so ay 3.5 in a low hover when you do get the ground cushion.

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Yes, think about it. The rotor on a 22 must be about 3 metres above ground level so say 4 meters in a low hover.

Just looked it up, 2.72 metres so ay 3.5 in a low hover when you do get the ground cushion.

Yes. For some reason I got it fixed in my mind that 1 metre was about 6 feet :rolleyes:. Can you imagine a helicopter with the main rotor 3 feet off the ground, it'd be like a Roman chariot. Too much vin rouge with my lunch :lol:.

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Yes. For some reason I got it fixed in my mind that 1 metre was about 6 feet :rolleyes:. Can you imagine a helicopter with the main rotor 3 feet off the ground, it'd be like a Roman chariot. Too much vin rouge with my lunch :lol:.

Isnt the hieght of Ground effect some relation to wing span?

as those rotary wings rise, they are going to get less and less effect....they may need to make them bigger to get the desired height with the available power.

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Isnt the hieght of Ground effect some relation to wing span?

as those rotary wings rise, they are going to get less and less effect....they may need to make them bigger to get the desired height with the available power.

I think it's about 1/2 the rotor diameter for maximum ground effect.

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Isnt the hieght of Ground effect some relation to wing span?

as those rotary wings rise, they are going to get less and less effect....they may need to make them bigger to get the desired height with the available power.

Don't know about height but it will produce an effect per unit span so a bigger span will produce a greater ground effect. Similarly, a greater rotational speed will produce more of an effect. Get that pilot down the gym! Or replace that metal frame with carbon fibre (scrap that; it already is!)

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I think it's about 1/2 the rotor diameter for maximum ground effect.

Makes me wonder how winglets would work on a helicopter rotor? After all, they unwind the tip vertices and hence reduce the induced drag. Pity Burt Rutan never showed any interest in fling wings, we might have hound out. I thinke he ws the first man to use them on a fixed wing, the Varieze although the concept belonged to Dr. Whitcomb at NASA.

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Makes me wonder how winglets would work on a helicopter rotor? After all, they unwind the tip vertices and hence reduce the induced drag. Pity Burt Rutan never showed any interest in fling wings, we might have hound out. I thinke he ws the first man to use them on a fixed wing, the Varieze although the concept belonged to Dr. Whitcomb at NASA.

BERP.... http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/berp-iv-gives-merlins-more-payload-213937/

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  • 238 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



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