The Atlas helicopter, designed and built by Canadian team AeroVelo, might be the first human-powered helicopter to reach a height of three meters for at least 60 seconds—two key parameters for the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize. The competition to build a human-powered helicopter was established in 1980, and it has not yet been won. Aerovelo’s helicopter hit precisely 3.3 meters and maintained flight for 65 seconds last Thursday, a result which could bring it the much coveted prize. The team submitted all the flight data and is awaiting the committee’s official review and validation.
AeroVelo is one of the two teams aiming for the Sikorsky prize, pledged by the American Helicopter Society for building a human-powered helicopter and achieving a height of 3 meters sometime during the 60 second flight, while staying within a 10 square meter area. AeroVelo and Gamera team from the University of Maryland have been racing each other
Before submitting the data, the team will have to make sure all bracing lines were clear of the three meter target and the 3-dimensional flight trajectory of Atlas is mapped out, remaining within the 10×10 meter box. The records are then submitted to the committee for validation, which could take as long as two weeks.