Technology
Canadians Build Human-Powered Helicopter And Win Elusive $250,000 Prize
July 12, 2013
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It's been over 30 years since the American Helicopter Society established the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Challenge, and no one has ever won the $250,000 prize.

Until now.

Two Canadians, Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson, founded an aeronautical engineering startup called Aerovelo that has won the big money.

Funded by Kickstarter, Aerovelo has been working on a human-powered helicopter called Atlas, which features four massive rotors powered by bicycle pedals.

human-powered-helicopter-side.jpgOn June 13, at an indoor soccer stadium near Toronto, the team got their project off the ground. Literally.

The successful flight lasted 64 seconds and achieved a maximum altitude of 3.3 metres.

In order to qualify for the Sikorsky Prize, the helicopter must rise to at least three metres, remain airborne for over one minute, and stay within a horizontal area no bigger than 10 metres by 10 metres.

The Federation dAviation Internationale (FAI) certified that the flight - which was piloted by Reichert - met the qualifications for the $250,000 prize.

But it almost didn't happen. The successful flight took place at the end of five days of testing, and there were only minutes left before the team had to be out of the stadium to make way for an evening soccer practice.

The company's Kickstarter campaign raised more than $30,000 last spring, which was used to build Atlas's airframe.

Via Popular Mechanics

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