(New Scientist) Last year, engineering students at the University of Maryland in College Park tried to set a record for flying a human-powered helicopter. Today they are at it again, with a lighter, more advanced cycle-copter. So far, they've managed to break the world record for human-powered choppers in their first flight by staying airborne for 35 seconds (see video above).
The team's Gamera II craft weighs around 32 kilograms, roughly two-thirds the weight of its predecessor, and has an improved rotor and cockpit design. Gamera I achieved just 4 seconds of flight last year, failing to beat the previous record of 20 seconds set in 1994 by a copter called Yuri I.