Canadian Team Wins Sikorsky Prize

Toronto based engineering firm AeroVelo Inc. has won the $250,000 (USD) Sikorsky Prize for human powered helicopter flight.

The prize, initiated 33 years ago, has never been won, until now.

The Sikorsky prize was to be awarded to a person or group that could develop and fly a helicopter propelled only by human power for at least 60 seconds, reach an altitude of at least 3 meters and hover over a 10 by 10 meter area.

The international competition has attracted teams from Canada, Japan, the U.S., and around the world.

Weighing only 115 pounds, Atlas, the AeroVelos craft has 4, 67 foot (20 meter) rotors and an overall width of 190 feet(58 meters) making it larger than the largest operational helicopter ever built. It is powered by a single pilot pedaling a carbon-fiber bicycle.

A panel of vertical flight experts has verified that the AeroVelos “Atlas” Team has met all of the requirements to win the competition and the prize money.

“The AHS Sikorsky Prize challenged the technical community to harness teamwork, technical skills and cutting edge technologies to meet requirements that were on the ragged edge of feasibility,” said AHS International Executive Director Mike Hirschberg. “It took AeroVelo’s fresh ideas, daring engineering approach and relentless pursuit of innovation—coupled with more than three decades of advances in structures, composites, computer-aided design and aeromechanical theory—to succeed in achieving what many in vertical flight considered impossible. We congratulate the Atlas team on its incredible success.”

The AHS announced the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition will soon be followed by a new challenge. The details are
still a secret.