The Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation announced this past July 2013 that Toronto’s AeroVelo Inc. was the recipient of its $250,000 AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter competition – a prize that had gone unclaimed for over 30 years!
The Toronto-based AeroVelo team- led by pilot and co-engineer Dr. Todd Reichert and co-chief engineer Cameron Robertson, and a team led mostly by University of Toronto students achieved its record-breaking flight on June 13, 2013.
They beat the 33-year-old challenge by flying their Atlas helicopter at a height above three meters (9.8 feet) and hovering for 64 seconds… again, like the challenge is named… done via human power!
The Atlas vehicle is the largest human-powered helicopter to have ever flown, and is, indeed also the first of its kind to fly in Canada.
The Atlas has four rotors – each measuring nearly 70 feet, and has an airframe made of light carbon tubing and polymer and weighs a total of 115 lbs.
It also had a highly modified bicycle frame that was pedaled by the pilot.
It’s quite the achievement! For 33 years, no one was able to create a human-powered helicopter… until now.