The Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was established in 1980 by the American Helicopter Society to help foster the creation of the first human-powered helicopter. To win the prize a team of engineers would have to build a helicopter powered solely by a human that would achieve a flight duration of 60 seconds, reach an altitude of 3 meters (9.8 ft), while remaining in a 10 meter (32.8 ft) square. The first attempt wouldn’t even leave the ground until 1989 when the Da Vinci III built by students Cal Poly San Luis Obispo flew for 7.1 seconds.
Over 33 years have passed since the creation of the AHS Sikorsky Prize and dozens teams have tried to win it. Finally, on June 13th of this year the AeroVelo team from the University Of Toronto managed to fly their Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter for 64.1 seconds, reaching an altitude of 11 feet (3.3 meters). The Atlas is a mammoth four rotor helicopter that despite measuring 154 feet (47 meters) across weighs only 119 pounds. The results were just verified this morning and the AeroVelo team was officially declared the winners of the $250,000 award. Watch the record-breaking flight above and read more over on the Huffington Post. Surely Da Vinci is fist-pumping in his grave.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Illustration
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.