See the solar-powered helicopter that just made 'aviation history'


Students at the University of Maryland in the US claim they have created a piece of aviation history thanks to their solar-powered helicopter.

The undergraduate students have released footage of a nine second flight of their aircraft, believed to be the first of its kind, that saw it carry a human passenger for the first time.

The aircraft, known as Solar Gamera, was actually converted from a previous incarnation of the helicopter that was human-powered and was first tested in 2014.

The new version is lifted by four sets of rotary blades that are each powered by a set of solar panels. The test flight carried one of the team members more than a foot off the ground for nine seconds. According to the University team, once improvements have been made to the electronic control systems, and the current drift the helicopter suffers from is under control, flight times should rise significantly.

William Staruk from the University of Maryland team said: "Today you are seeing the first successful flights of the Gamera Solar-Powered Helicopter.

Solar-powered helicopter

"You are seeing aviation history being made in the history of green aviation and rotary blade aviation."

Solar-powered flight is an area of increasing interest to many, with tech giant Facebook's internet signal-beaming drones, powered by the sun and able to stay in the air for months at a time, currently being tested as a method of introducing the internet to more of the world's population.