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UBC's Human-powered Helicopter
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Early this morning I met up with flipzagging and headed out to Thunderbird Stadium at UBC.

The first full-scale test of the Thunderbird Project didn't get it off the ground, though it seems like the team did learn a lot.

There were two big problems discovered in the test. The first was a design flaw in the twin-rotor structure: the lower, smaller-diameter rotor seemed to have as much lift as the upper, but was carrying less weight. This resulted in the tip of the lower rotor lifting faster than the corresponding point on the upper rotor so that their paths intersected. The damage was actually rather slight. The lower rotor was fine, but a half-meter section of the upper rotor's leading edge was broken and the plastic-wrap skin was torn. It took about twenty minutes to patch this for a second try, this time with team members holding down the lower rotor tips. The hope was that when both rotors were at speed their paths wouldn't intersect...

The second big problem was with a chain in the transmission. It seems like there was a misalignment, causing the chain to slip. They tried a few times to spin the rotors up, but when the transmission lost that one chain it was the end of the show.

We left when the team leader indicated that they were calling it a day. Stopped at the Sunshine Diner on Broadway at McDonald and had a very rich, very filling Eggs Romano (eggs benedict without the bacon and with tomato, cream cheese, and avocado), while flipzagging had the BC Benny (involving tomato and smoked salmon).