Canadian Team Claims $250,000 Prize"The American Helicopter Society’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition represents the third largest monetary prize in aviation history. The monumental feat requires a human to hover to an altitude of 3 metres under his/her own power, and to remain aloft for at least 1 minute. The challenge is test a of ingenuity, athleticism and determination."
The team’s quad-copter design was created from a frame made of carbon-fiber/Vectran while the blades of the Atlas were made from polystyrene, balsa wood and polyester film. These elements were then tied together by a bicycle at the center of the machine.
The Sikorsky Prize represents a monumental challenge that requires a level of aerodynamic efficiency that is unheard of in commercial helicopters. A successful Sikorsky Prize helicopter will be able to hover on less than one horsepower.
"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."
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 on June 13 inside a field house in Vaughan, Ontario.
And although this specific competition has come to a close, AHS International has said that it will announce "another grand challenge" soon.
Impressively, Atlas was not the team's only project during this time. They also produced what is called an Ornithopter, which is probably even cooler than the Atlas. Check it out here.