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An interdisciplinary group of University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Maryland are working to demonstrate the first solar-rechargeable cyclocopter blimp. Some of the members were part of Gamera-S, the first manned solar-powered helicopter.

The Cyclo-Blimp is a unique lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle that relies on cyclorotors for additional lift and propulsive thrust. As a hybrid LTA vehicle, Cyclo-Blimp’s total lift comes from static buoyancy, aerodynamic lift from hull profile, and vectored lift from cyclorotors. The vectored lift allows the vehicle to maneuver vertically, as well as provide all degrees of control in flight.

To achieve zero carbon emissions footprint and reduced acoustics, the Cyclo-Blimp is powered by four electric motors connected to a Lithium Polymer (LiPo) battery. The battery is charged during flight by flexible solar panels mounted on top of the hull. With an interdisciplinary team and knowledge gained from multiple research labs across campus, the team hopes to be the first in history to demonstrate successful flight of a solar-rechargeable cyclocopter blimp.

To read more about the project, click here.



July 16, 2018


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