Canadian Engineers Win Sikorsky Human Helicopter Prize

Canadian Engineers Win Sikorsky Human Helicopter Prize

It's been 33 years, but finally experts from the University of Toronto have claimed the Igor I. Sikorsky Prize.

AeroVelo, a team of engineers from the University of Toronto, have built and successfully flown the first human powered helicopter, thus winning the Igor I. Sikorsky Prize and the $250,000 that goes with it. The team's 52 kg (115 lb) helicopter, powered exclusively by those legs you see frantically pumping away there like a swan with a really urgent desire to be somewhere else, stayed aloft at 3 meters for sixty seconds.

The quarter million was donated by Sikorsky Aircraft, and the competition has been going for over 30 years without a winner. The American Helicopter Society, which has been running the competition, was initially only able to offer a $10,000 top prize, but Sikorsky was persuaded to up the ante in 2009. The cunning Canadians triumphed over their rivals at the University of Maryland; the two teams have been duking it out since 2009, each eager to beat the other aloft. Maryland's Gamera and its subsequent iterations did get off the ground, but didn't stay up there long enough to satisfy the time requirement. "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," says the AHS. "It took AeroVelo's fresh ideas, daring engineering approach and relentless pursuit of innovation ... to succeed in achieving what many in vertical flight considered impossible."

Next stop, Columbia! Keep pedalling, you. Don't make me use Shock Jockey!

Source: Geekologie


The fact that Maryland's machine was called the Gamera makes me smile. Otherwise, go Canada!

You'd expect it to be huge to get the required lift, but I didn't think it'd be that huge. Fantastic work. Poor cyclist must surely have been bricking it.

We needs lighter materials to make it smaller now!

Every time I think of a flying bicycle (which is not often, but when I do) I always picture the rider with a monocle and tophat.

Wow, I can't believe that video showing the helicopter flying is in real time. Look how slow those blades are moving. I guess you get more thrust and less friction at that speed though. It's incredible.

Every time I think of a flying bicycle (which is not often, but when I do) I always picture the rider with a monocle and tophat.

Well this thing looks like it fell out of tear from Colombia so honestly that's not a bad image.

Not that I'm not impressed by/happy for the Toronto guys, but the kaiju fan in me can't help but feel disappointed that the Gamera lost.

The fact that they just recently (pass few years) cracked the powered personal flying machine, these folks managed to do it with just human power, is magnificent and awesome in every sense of the words.

Kudos to the winners for their cool machine. Kind of funny to see this guy hoofing it in this big machine only to float up 3 metres. Still very cool though.

The video says Human Powered Helicoter. That's embarrassing.

Wow, that is pretty cool. I just can't believe something of that size only weighs 52kgs.

Well done to the people that made it!

Well done, U of T!

that really deserves a "oh canada" now. good job

Super cool to see. Really happy for the Canadian guys and U of T.

I'm disappointed it looks like a quadcopter with a bicycle won it and not some more whacky contraption.

"fresh ideas, daring engineering approach and relentless pursuit of innovation"

Who's to say Canada didn't just have a stronger peddler?

But really good work guys

Holy shit, that's really damn cool. Someone get Chris Hoy on that (in a top hat of course. It just seems fitting) and we're in business.


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