July 11 - A team from Toronto has won the long-coveted Sikorsky prize by using human power alone to fly an aircraft. The team, called AreroVelo Inc., achieved the feat on June 13, securing a $250,000 prize that has been on offer for 33 years, but never before awarded. Rob Muir reports.
With chief engineer and pilot Todd Reichert pedaling furiously, the flying machine named Atlas, rose into the air in an attempt to make history. If Reichert could keep the home-made helicopter aloft for more than 60 seconds, at a height of at least three meters over an area measuring ten metres squared, then he and his team would collect a prize created 33 years ago, but never claimed. The American Helicopter Society and the Sikorsky company was offering $250, 000 to the first team or individual to fly a human-powered helicopter in accordance with competition guidelines. ...so on June 13th, the engineers and students comprising team AeroVelo held their breath as Reichert did his all to keep their helicopter, in the air. More than 20 human-powered helicopters have been designed and built since the competition began, but only a handful have gotten off the ground. But on this occasion, Atlas did more than that...The lightweight carbon fibre and polymer machine stayed aloft for approximately 64 seconds, landing to the kind of reaction you'd expect from a winning team.