On June 13, 2013, Aerovelo’s human-powered helicopter Atlas won the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Challenge and its $250,000 prize. During the record-breaking 64 second flight, Atlas reached a height of 3.3 metres. The American Helicopter Society’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition represents the third largest monetary prize in aviation history. The monumental feat requires a human to hover to an altitude of 3 metres under his/her own power, and to remain aloft for at least 1 minute. The challenge is test a of ingenuity, athleticism and determination.
The key to success on Atlas was that we freed ourselves from unnecessary constraints. We built Atlas as big as it had to be, and then figured out where to fly it. Atlas turned out to be twice as big as anything that had been built before - it was bigger than most commercial aircraft - and much, MUCH, bigger than the human inside it.