Jul 11, 2013
By Michael Kramer
A Canadian team has made aviation history.
On June 13th their human-powered helicopter sustained flight for 64 seconds, reaching a height of 3.3 metres.
Today, they were rewarded with $250,000, when the American Helicopter Society International and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation recognized them as the official winners of the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Challenge.
Since AHS established the challenge in 1980, numerous teams have tried and failed to meet its requirements, namely, hovering a human-powered helicopter for at least 60 seconds, achieving a height of at least three metres, with the pilot remaining within the boundaries of a 10-by-10-metre box.
In 2009, Sikorsky pledged a quarter-million-dollar prize to the first team to achieve what many considered impossible.
The Toronto-based Aerovelo team built a dramatically large aircraft called “Atlas.”
With a maximum diagonal dimension of 154 feet (46.9 metres), “Atlas” is the second-largest helicopter ever built – with a rotor area of 13,700 square feet (1,276 square metres) providing the lift needed to achieve the necessary altitude and duration – to win the competition.