The unofficial human-powered helicopter flight record set by Kyle Gluesenkamp from the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Gamera II team on June 21 2012 has just been ratified by the National Aeronautic Association (NAA). The new national record has now been submitted to the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale for approval as a new world record.

We closed our recent coverage of the record attempts with news that the footage of Gamera II team's astounding 50 second flight time was awaiting examination and confirmation by NAA officials. The anxious wait is now over and, in the end, the scrutineers shaved off one tenth of a second to certify the new official national record as 49.9 seconds. The flight information has now been sent off to be considered for the world record crown. Our congratulations go out to all the University of Maryland students involved.

The Gamera II team will fly again later this month to try and smash through the 60-second barrier and head toward claiming the elusive Sikorsky Prize of US$250,000 set by the American Helicopter Society, which also states that the craft must reach an altitude of three meters (9.84 feet) at some point during the flight to claim the cash.

Refinements to Gamera II are currently being undertaken and reports are coming in of a successful (if unofficial) 70-second test flight having taken place this week. We'll keep you updated on progress.

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