A Canadian engineering team has finally captured the long-elusive Sikorsky prize — awarded to the “first successful controlled flight of a human-powered helicopter” — 33 years after it was established.
Atlas, created by Toronto-based AeroVelo, made its historic flight on June 13. The helicopter stayed airborne for 64.11 seconds, reached a 10.8 feet (3.3 meters) peak altitude and drifted 32.1 feet (9.8 meters), according to the team’s site. In order to win the Sikorsky prize, an “aircraft using only human power” had to fly for at least 60 seconds, reach a height of at least 9.8 feet (3 meters) and hover over a 32.8-by-32.8 feet (10-by-10 meter) area, according to a release. AeroVelo won $250,000 for its achievement.
Last year, the team raised more than $34,000 — exceeding its original goal of $30,000 — on Kickstarter to build Atlas. Other competitors also took to the crowdfunding site to help finance their human-powered helicopters.
AHS International founded the Sikorsky Competition in 1980.
Watch Atlas’ winning flight in the video, above; then tell us what you think in the comments.
Screenshot image courtesy of YouTube, Aero Velo