For the first time in a third of century, a team has claimed the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition prize. AHS International and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today awarded the $250,000 prize to AeroVelo, Inc.
The Toronto, Canada-based company won the prize with a June 13, 2013 flight in which its pilot pedaled the four-rotor Atlas helicopter to an altitude of more than 3 meters (9.8 feet) and kept it aloft for more than 60 seconds while remaining within 10 meters (32.8 feet) of the takeoff point. The altitude, duration and controllability were key requirements of the AHS Sikorsky Prize, which AHS established in 1980. Sikorsky Aircraft provided the prize money.
"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," AHS International Executive Director Mike Hirschberg said during the award ceremony at The Soccer Centre in Vaughan, Ontario, where the winning flight took place.