Yesterday I got the chance to see something amazing – the UMD Gamera Human-Powered Helicopter Project‘s attempt to win the AHS Sikorsky Prize. In short, the goal is to fly a human-powered helicopter for 60 seconds, topping 3 meters in elevation, and keeping the helicopter within a 10 square meter box. For about an hour I watched them do a series of short test flights, trying to get the helicopter calibrated to not drift out of the 10 meter box.During a longer break they were kind enough to let the (supervised) public walk within the contraption. It is remarkable up close – super fine and lanky carbon fiber triangular trusses and more styrofoam than you’d expect. It reminded me a bit of a giant K’Nex system.