Feeds

Giant human-powered quadricopter wins $250,000 Sikorsky Prize

It took 33 years to accomplish the winning one-minute flight

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Video In 1980, AHS International inaugurated the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition. On Thursday, they announced a winner: Canada's Kickstarter-funded startup AeroVelo.

The AeroVelo Atlas quadricopter, piloted – and, of course, powered – by company cofounder Todd Reichert, won the $250,000 prize by satisfying each requirement of the Sikorsky competition: it hovered for one minute, reached an altitude of three meters, and stayed within a 10-by-10 meter square area.

"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 in a press release.

"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," he said.

When the competition was originally announced, AHS International set the prize money at $10,000, but soon bumped that to $25,000. In 2009, however, helicopter powerhouse Sikorsky Aircraft, founded by Igor I. Sikorsky in 1923, moved the decimal point on that figure – a ten-fold increase that spurred a comparable increase in interest in the prize.

According to AHS International, AeroVelo's bicycle-powered craft is larger than any operation helicopter ever built: 58 meters in width with four 20.4-meter rotors spun – slowly – by its pilot aboard a customized carbon-fiber Cervélo bicycle frame. Without the pilot, the entire Atlas craft weighs a mere 52 kilograms.

AHS International notes that "AeroVelo's win is not the end, but the beginning. The AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition will soon be followed by another grand challenge, the details of which are currently being refined."

Leonardo da Vinci must be smiling down from above. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
Dragon Age Inquisition: Our chief weapons are...
Bioware's fantasy forces in fine fettle
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Getting ahead of the compliance curve
Learn about new services that make it easy to discover and manage certificates across the enterprise and how to get ahead of the compliance curve.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.