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SolidWorks Used to Design Human-Powered Helicopter

The Aerospace Engineering department at the University of Maryland’s (UMD) A. James Clark School of Engineering is designing a human-powered helicopter that runs on energy generated by pedals, using software from Dassault Systemes SolidWorks.

Unlike human-powered airplanes, human-powered helicopters require more power for flight height and duration, which can push the limits of human endurance. To address this issue, the design team turned to DS SolidWorks. Using the SolidWorks CAD software, the team created a helicopter propelled by hand and foot pedals.

“SolidWorks has been critical to designing the complex parts this helicopter requires,” said Joseph Schmaus, a UMD graduate student working on the project. “Between the simulation capabilities, which allow us to perform stress analysis on individual components, and the ability to rapidly prototype complex parts, SolidWorks has helped us to ensure we create effective, safe, lightweight pieces for the larger design.”

Watch the test flight:

The helicopter prototype, which weighs only 100 pounds, is currently operational and has broken two world records to date. The first UMD flight was recorded at four seconds and the second flight at 12.4 seconds. The UMD team hopes to achieve the benchmark set for the Sikorsky price, which requires a flight duration of 60 seconds and a height of three meters.

For more information, visit SolidWorks and check out the test flight of an electric-powered helicopter on Engineering on the Edge.

Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.

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