Atlas: the Sikorsky prize-winning design


The Human-Powered Helicopter

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 Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition, which had gone unclaimed for 33 years, represents the third largest monetary prize in aviation history. The monumental feat required 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 to free 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. 


Aerovelo Inc., founded by U of T Engineering alumni Todd Reichert (EngSci 0T5, AeroE PhD 1T1), and Cameron Robertson (EngSci 0T8, MASc 0T9), have made history by winning the $250,000 AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Prize, on June 13, 2013.

On June 13th, 2013, the Aerovelo Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter captured the long standing AHS Sikorsky Prize with a flight lasting 64.1 seconds and reaching an altitude of 3.3 metres.