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— Aircraft

Boeing and Sikorsky to team up on X2-based rotorcraft for U.S. Army

Sikorsky’s coaxial X2 Demonstrator may have taken its last flight, but the rotorcraft’s design will serve as the basis for a new aircraft proposed by Sikorsky and Boeing. The companies will submit a joint proposal to build the new aircraft for Phase 1 of the U.S. Army’s Joint Multi-Role (JMR) Technology Demonstrator (TD) program that aims to deliver the next generation of vertical lift utility and attack aircraft. Read More
— Science

Puzzlebox Orbit brain-controlled helicopter is flying into production

For the last few years, Puzzlebox has been publishing open source software and hacking guides that walk makers through the modification of RC helicopters so that they can be flown and controlled using just the power of the mind. Full systems have also been custom built to introduce youngsters to brain-computer interfaces and neuroscience. The group is about to take the project to the next stage by making a Puzzlebox Orbit brain-controlled helicopter available to the public, while encouraging user experimentation by making all the code, schematics, 3D models, build guides and other documentation freely available under an open-source license. Read More
— Children

Flying Kyosho Space Ball: The R/C Death Star and air freshener in one

Almost a year ago, the Japanese Ministry of Defense made quite a splash when it revealed a spherical, remote-controlled aircraft that could zip around a room, roll along the ground, and even bounce off obstacles without losing control. But while it was mainly designed for search and rescue operations, many R/C enthusiasts took one look at that hovering Death Star and said, "I have got to get me one of those." Luckily, toy company Kyosho must have been listening, since it recently released a similar flying machine of its own for consumers. Kyosho's "Space Ball" can remain airborne while taking just as much punishment and even emits a fragrance to freshen up a room in the process. Read More
— Aircraft

AeroVelo's Atlas joins Sikorsky race for human-powered helicopter flight

The efforts of Maryland University's Gamera II team in snaring the US$250,000 Sikorsky Prize for human-powered helicopter flight have garnered much attention (not least from Gizmag) in recent months, and with good reason. But the team is by no means alone in chasing down its sadistic requirements set by the American Helicopter Society in 1980. First tested in August, The Atlas helicopter, by human-powered vehicle specialists AeroVelo, is the latest machine to enter the fray, and has already flown successfully, becoming only the fourth human-powered helicopter to do so. Read More
— Aircraft

Up, up and away: Gamera II team takes human-powered helicopter to new heights

The Gamera II team at the A. James Clark School of Engineering has certainly been keeping officials at the National Aeronautic Association (NAA) very busy this year. Kyle Gluesenkamp from the school's mechanical engineering department pedaled and cranked his way into the record books in June with a new official national record for human-powered helicopter flight with a time of 49.9 seconds, and now that too has been smashed. A new venue, and some vital modifications to the huge craft has resulted in the magic Sikorsky Prize 60-second barrier being surpassed for the very first time. Not only that, but Gamera II has also been taken up beyond eight feet before a serious crash landing put a stop to more record attempts. Read More
— Good Thinking

TOHL: the startup that lays water pipelines by helicopter

A new startup named TOHL, comprised of a handful young Georgia Tech graduates, has set up shop in Chile in an effort to "change the way people think about pipelines." Using little more than a helicopter and a coil of flexible high-density polyethylene (HDPE) pipe, TOHL laid a kilometer (0.6 miles) of water pipeline by helicopter in a "record-setting" nine minutes, despite windy conditions and mountainous terrain. TOHL claims this is "the first ever completely aerial installation of a pipeline." Now company President Benjamin Cohen is taking to Kickstarter to ask for US$30,000 to build the company's first "full-scale" installation. Read More
— Aircraft

Gamera II team smashes previous best human-powered helicopter flight time

For over 30 years, the US$250,000 cash prize for the American Helicopter Society's Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition prize has looked decidedly secure, but Gamera II has changed all that. Last week, Clark School of Engineering team pilots came so close to breaking one of the competition's major milestones that they could virtually smell it. Ph.D. candidate from Kyle Gluesenkamp from the School's mechanical engineering department, hand-cranking and pedaling like his life depended on it, managed to keep the huge quad-rotor craft aloft for 50 seconds, an impressive new world record that's currently awaiting validation by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). Read More