American Helicopter Society Finally Pays Out $250,000 Prize Money
June 13, 2013 will be a date that will be remembered in aviation history as the day the first Human Powered Helicopter was born. A Canadian team called Aero Velo is comprised of mostly students from the University of Toronto.
They built a quad-copter design they named Atlas. The American Helicopter Society's challenge was posed by Igor I Sikorsky over 30 years ago. It represents the third largest monetary prize in aviation history. The monumental feat requires a human to hover to an altitude of 3 meters under his or her own power, and to remain aloft for at least 1 minute. The challenge is a test of ingenuity, athleticism and determination.
The design was created from a frame made of carbon-fiber/Vectran, while the blades were made from polystyrene, balsa wood and polyester film. These elements were then tied together by a bicycle at the center of the machine.
Dr. Todd Reichert, one of the leaders of the team, pedaled to lift the AeroVelo Atlas for 64.11 seconds. The craft reached an altitude of 10.8 feet and drifted only 32 feet during the flight, which took place inside a field house in Vaughan, Ontario.
"No one knows better than we do the enormously difficult engineering and human performance challenges that must be overcome in order to meet these flight requirements." the team said in a statement. "We salute this historic accomplishment of the AeroVelo team and the intense dedication, innovation, research and hard work we know it required."