After days of adjusting, rebuilding, testing and super-gluing, a human-powered helicopter at the University of Maryland left the ground for about four seconds late Thursday afternoon.
It was the third known time a human-powered craft has left the ground, and the first time a woman has been in the pilot’s seat.
“It was beautiful,” said Brandon Bush, 29, a U-Md. doctoral student and a project manager. “It jumped up, and it stayed there.”
For years, U-Md. engineering students and faculty members have been working on the light-weight helicopter, which they named Gamera after a monstrous flying turtle that starred in Japanese films.
Take-off was first scheduled for Wednesday morning, so a crowd of journalists and supporters gathered in a campus gym. That crowd thinned as test flight after test flight failed to result in take-off.