UMD Human Powered Helicopter Team Congratulates AHS Sikorsky Prize Winners
Team Gamera, the human-powered helicopter student team from the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, congratulates the Canadian AeroVelo team on their recent flight that fulfilled the requirements of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition. This is a tremendous achievement. No one knows better than we do the enormously difficult engineering and human performance challenges that must be overcome in order to meet these flight requirements. We salute this historic accomplishment of the AeroVelo team and the intense dedication, innovation, research and hard work we know it required.
Although Team Gamera and AeroVelo have been competitors for the AHS Sikorsky Prize, we also have been and continue to be colleagues in advancing human powered helicopter flight innovation. Prior to the major advances of our two teams, very little progress had been made in human powered helicopter flight since AHS created its Sikorsky in 1980. The AeroVelo team has told us that our work and the early flights of Gamera I inspired them to take up the Sikorsky Prize challenge. Their team’s work then gave added incentive and urgency to our efforts in the past year, including the record-setting flights we achieved in August 2012 for duration (65.1 seconds) and altitude (9.4 feet), as well as our recent accomplishments at the end of June, reaching 10.8 feet in altitude on one flight, and 74 seconds in duration on another, an unofficial world record.
We congratulate the AeroVelo team on their accomplishment, and we are also proud of what our own team has accomplished. We believe the Gamera project has been tremendously beneficial for the University of Maryland, the Clark School of Engineering, and the fantastic team of more than 100 undergraduate and graduate students who have worked on it. As students, the challenge of advancing human powered helicopter design and performance, and the learning, teamwork and priceless experience that came with this effort has always been our real prize.
Quotes from Gamera team leaders:
"Congratulations to AeroVelo! What they did was really amazing and no one knows better than us how hard this was to achieve. I'm glad for AeroVelo. It's an amazing milestone in aviation history." - Will Staruk, Gamera Team
"I always admired AeroVelo's singular focus and rapid progress towards achieving the AHS Sikorsky Prize. They worked fast and lean, and endured huge setbacks along the way without flinching. Their approach to this challenge should be an example and inspiration for engineering students everywhere." - Ben Berry, Gamera Team
July 11, 2013