Register for an account

X

Enter your name and email address below.

Your email address is used to log in and will not be shared or sold. Read our privacy policy.

X

Website access code

Enter your access code into the form field below.

If you are a Zinio, Nook, Kindle, Apple, or Google Play subscriber, you can enter your website access code to gain subscriber access. Your website access code is located in the upper right corner of the Table of Contents page of your digital edition.

Technology

Human-Powered Helicopter Completes Record-Breaking Flight [Video]

D-briefBy Lisa RaffenspergerJuly 12, 2013 7:28 PM

Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news

aerovelo.jpg

After going more than 30 years unclaimed, the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize for human-powered flight has a winner. Canadian startup company AeroVelo successfully kept their pedal-powered helicopter, Atlas, aloft for the 60 seconds required for the prize title. Competition rules also state that the helicopter must rise to an altitude of at least 3 meters (about 10 feet), and must remain within a horizontal area no bigger than 10 meters (33 feet) square. The Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition

was initiated in 1980 by the American Helicopter Society (AHS). Various teams have attempted to win the prize since then, all unsuccessfully. Students at the University of Maryland were close last year, with a craft called Gamera. That copter flew for 50 seconds. But Atlas's flight last month sets a world record of 64.11 seconds aloft. The flight was piloted by AeroVelo co-founder Todd Reichert on June 13. However it was only announced yesterday that the attempt had been verified by the Federation d'Aviation Intenationale (FAI), the governing body of international aeronautical prizes. Reichert and his fellow team leader Cameron Robertson have been working to design a human-powered flying machine for six years. Last summer they raised over $34,000 via a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of winning the Sikorsky Prize. That funded an early stage of development of Atlas. The final design consists of a square frame that measures 160 feet on each side. Rotors with 65-foot-long blades are affixed to each corner of the frame. A bicycle frame sits at the center of the square, from which a cyclist powers the copter. Because the contraption uses lightweight materials, including carbon fiber, the whole structure weighs less than the rider on the bike. Watch the prize-winning flight in the video below. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=syJq10EQkog

    3 Free Articles Left

    Want it all? Get unlimited access when you subscribe.

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In

    Want unlimited access?

    Subscribe today and save 70%

    Subscribe

    Already a subscriber? Register or Log In