A team of University of Maryland (UMD) students makes history flying a piloted, solar-powered helicopter for the first time ever, according to a university-issued article. The aircraft, composed of a cabin frame, four rotors and eight blades, flew for nine sec and got more than 1 ft off the ground.
Team Gamera was formed in 2012 by UMD students who were inspired by American Helicopter Society’s Sikorsky Prize. At that time, the goal was to engineer a human-powered helicopter. Once that goal was met, the team set its sights on something else. In 2014, the team reinvented itself into Solar Gamera, with the goal to take the helicopter from human power to solar power.
Two years later, Solar Gamera reached its goal, with materials science major and team member Michelle Mahon in the cockpit. While the students recognize that the helicopter may never see long-distance flight, the program provides a unique, hands-on learning experience. More than 100 students from across the UMD A. James Clark School of Engineering have been a part of the Gamera team.