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Posts Tagged ‘Sikorsky Prize’

In 1980, the American Helicopter Society International established the Igor I. Sikorsky Prize to develop a human-powered helicopter. It’s an international competition with a prize of $250,000 pledged by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for the first controlled flight that meets stringent requirements.

The flight must last 60 seconds and reach a height of 3 metres (9.8 ft) while remaining in a 10 metre (32.8 ft) square, and it must be certified by a member of the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.

To date, no one has been able to claim the prize, although many attempts have been made.

Competition is currently close between two contenders – the Gamera II designed and built by students at the University of Maryland, and the Atlas designed and built by AeroVelo, a team of Canadian students and professionals.

On August 28, 2012, the Gamera II unofficially flew for 65 seconds on one flight, and reached a height of 8 feet on another.

On September 3, the Atlas demonstrated the first controlled, non-tethered flight of a human-powered helicopter, lasting 17 seconds.

Both teams continue to refine their design. The Atlas is powered by national speed skater, Dr. Todd Reichert, on a super-light bike frame designed by Toronto’s Cervelo Cycles. He performs endurance and power cycle training for three hours a day in order to prepare for “take-off”.

“Many people have said this prize is impossible,” Reichert says, “but if we succeed, that has the power to inspire.”

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