Gamera II flight from August 28 of approximately 65 seconds.
Also see video of a separate 8-foot-high flight.
2012: Gamera II Sets New U.S. Flight Duration Record
In June 2012, in the Reckord Armory on the campus of the University of Maryland in College Park, the Gamera team flew Gamera II, a refinement of the Gamera I vehicle that is 30% lighter and designed for flights over 60 seconds—far longer than the 11.4 second world record set by Gamera I and meeting the flight duration requirements of the AHS Sikorsky Prize. Gamera II features enhanced rotor design, an improved transmission, and a redesigned cockpit. (For more information, use the links at right.) On June 21, Gamera II, piloted by mechanical engineering doctoral candidate Kyle Gluesenkamp, set a new official U.S. record for flight duration at 49.9 seconds, as verified by the National Aeronautic Association on August 9, 2012. The flight is being submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for world-record review.
In August and September of 2012, the team flew a further refined version of 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). That flight is under review by the National Aeronautic Association to establish a new world record. Subsequent flights of shorter duration nonetheless came close to reaching the Sikorsky Prize heigh requirement of 3 meters. One flight reached eight feet and the other 9.4 feet. The vehicle featured rotor blades that are longer by 70 cm (requiring structural arms that are longer by 1 m), and whose outboard sections are made of semi-solid foam shell to help maintain airfoil shape during flight; a cockpit that allows more pilot arm flexion to increase available power; and a stiffer chain and modified tensioners for smoother power delivery. These modifications increased the vehicle weight by approximately six pounds.
In November of 2012, the team tested a new flight control system on board Gamera II XR, to try and mitigate drift. These test flights did not have a National Aeronautic Association official present. Flights of 65 seconds were achieved by pilots (and twin brothers) Henry and Duncan Enerson. The performance of the new flight control system during testing is currently under review. Lessons were learned and will be applied to vehicle improvements. The team hopes to hold more test flights in the coming months and make serious attempts at the AHS Sikorsky Prize requirements.