We became interested in human-powered helicopters while watching NPR’s Human-Powered Helicopters: Straight Up Difficult! So seeing one of the featured teams finally win the American Helicopter Society (AHS) Sikorsky Prize, after the competition first began in 1980 — 33 years ago — is pretty exciting stuff.
The goal of the competition: hover for 60 seconds, reach a height of 3 meters, and stay within a 10m x 10m area. Dozens of teams tried and hadn’t (yet) succeeded, until the AeroVelo Atlas team from the University of Toronto met the challenge on 13 June 2013:
This incredible flight was 64.11 seconds in duration (World Record for “Duration on Hover”), reached a 3.3m peak altitude, and drifted a maximum of 9.8m…
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The video above is a compilation of the winning flight and other test flights, but you can watch the entire prize-winning flight of AeroVelo’s Atlas here.
And if the winning flight makes this feat look a bit too easy, check out all of the hard work by Aero Velo and University of Maryland’s Team Gamera, who have been within close range of winning.
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