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Human-Powered Helicopter Earns Sikorsky Prize

I wrote last summer about a team of University of Maryland students who tried, but failed, to win the elusive Sikorsky Prize with their Gamera II human-powered helicopter. The American Helicopter Society International sponsors the $250,000 price, which requires a 60-second flight at an altitude of 3 meters in a 10-square-meter area, a goal that the Gamera II team missed by a good 10 seconds. The prize has been offered since 1980.

But now a Kickstarter-funded project has claimed the prize.

Canadian startup AeroVelo announced this month that company co-founder Todd Reichert met the qualifications for the prize on June 13 at a soccer stadium in Toronto. Reichert flew for 64 seconds with a maximum altitude of 3.3 meters at the end of five days of test flights.

The Atlas craft finally reached the mark just minutes before a soccer team was scheduled to take the field for an evening practice.

Like the Gamera, Atlas is an X-shaped craft that uses four large rotors, powered by the pedaling work of the pilot. You can read a draft of the company’s world record claim documentation here.

Source: Popular Mechanics

About Brian Albright

Brian Albright is a contributing editor to Desktop Engineering. Send e-mail about this article to DE-Editors@deskeng.com.