Posts Tagged human-powered

Human-powered helicopter flies into history

A Canadian team has finally won a US$250,000 prize offered in 1980 for the first human-powered helicopter flight.

AeroVelo, a team comprised mainly of students from the University of Toronto, won the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition after flying for longer than 60 seconds above 3m in height and remaining within a 10m x 10m area on June 13.

Sikorsky says more than 20 human-powered helicopters have been designed and built since the competition began, though only a handful have gotten off the ground.

As you can see in the video above, AeroVelo’s Atlas vehicle is huge – in fact, the largest human-powered helicopter to have flown.

Each of its four rotors measures about 21m. The airframe is constructed of very light carbon tube and polymer weighing only 52kg, with a highly modified bicycle frame pedalled by the pilot – in this case, 31-year-old chief engineer Dr Todd Reichert. Cameron Robertson was co-chief engineer.

“When Sikorsky increased the prize to a quarter-million dollars (from US$10,00) in May 2009, many people were skeptical and felt the challenge was impossible,” said Sikorsky Research and Engineering Vice-President Mark Miller. “And that is exactly why we raised the stakes – to encourage creative thinkers to prove that what is considered impossible is often proven to be possible. That has been the philosophy of Sikorsky Aircraft since the founding of our company by aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky 90 years ago. Congratulations to the AeroVelo team!”

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