Summer Begins: A New Challenge and an Awesome New Team!


Nearly a year has passed since the Sikorksy Prize Winning Flight of the Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter. But don’t worry the fun’s not over yet!!

Goal September 2014: To break the human-powered land-speed record of 133.8 km/hr. That’s right, 133 km/hr on level ground… on a bicycle! As with everything we do, our mission is to do more with less, and to challenge the notions of what is physically possible with a little out-of-the-box thinking. Over the course of the summer we will be finishing the detailed design, construction and testing of a brand new bike, preparing for the World Human-Powered Speed Challenge in Battle Mountain, Nevada, in September 2014. Each year teams from all over the world come to compete, to share their knowledge and to challenge each other for the biggest speeding ticket!

The 5 mile straightaway outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. The best place in the world to go fast on a bike!

The 5 mile straightaway outside of Battle Mountain, Nevada. The best place in the world to go fast on a bike!

Building streamlined bicycles isn’t new for many of the members of the AeroVelo team, many of whom have been involved in the University of Toronto Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team which builds a bike each year to compete in a high-speed urban utility race. The team has managed to reach 101.3 km/hr, 116.9 km/hr, and 125.0 km/hr in their first, second and third bike respectively. After year’s of designing a variety of innovative urban utility vehicles we are incredibly excited to finally focus our energy on a purpose-build speed-machine.

So without further ado, I’d like to introduce this summer’s AeroVelo team members. Some returning; some new; all amazingly awesome!

Peter Wen (Mechanical Engineering, U of T)

Peter is obsessed with human powered transport. In high school he began commuting 26km to school by bicycle. During this time, he founded Cananda’s first high school Moonbuggy team where he led a group of 16 inexperienced students to design and build from scratch a two-person all-terrain human-powered-vehicle. He extended his experience in first year with UofT’s Human Powered Vehicle Design Team where he helped design and construct a streamlined leaning trike. During his free time, Peter can be found tuning his bicycles for no particular reason, playing with his border collie, shamelessly jamming to Taylor Swift, or all at the same time.

Thomas Ulph (Aerospace Engineering, U of T)

Going into third year of the Aerospace Engineering (Engineering Science) at the University of Toronto, Thomas is joining the team as a new member. In the past he has worked on a variety of projects, including a quad-copter design for an ASME competition, intended maneuver through a course and make a payload drop. He is passionate about flight and the idea of developing future sustainable systems through the use of human power. Specifically, Thomas is interested in aerodynamics of streamlined vehicles and the structures required support their design. Earning his Private and Glider Pilot Licence through the Air Cadet program, in his spare time, Thomas enjoys long flights in any Cessna he can get his hands on and building pretty much anything that moves. Thomas is being partially funded by the University of Toronto Division of Engineering Science.

Neil Wu (Aerospace Engineering, U of T)

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Neil is a second year Engineering Science student at the University of Toronto about to enter the aerospace option. A new member on the team, his interest lies mainly in vehicle aerodynamics design and optimization. He has put his skills to use as the current Aerodynamics Lead for the Blue Sky Solar Racing team on campus, where he is in charge of designing the next generation solar vehicle for the World Solar Challenge – a race to cross the Australian continent in five days using only solar power. In his spare time, Neil enjoys playing the violin and speedcubing, and he has held several Canadian records. Neil is being partially funded by the University of Toronto Division of Engineering Science.

Jenny Wu (Mathematical and Physical Sciences, U of T)

Jenny is currently completing a Mathematics and Physics Specialist at the University of Toronto and will be entering her second year in September 2014. Jenny played a key role in her high-school Moonbuggy team, leading the logistics and sponsorship effort, and her experience will help her play a key part in the sponsorship campaign at Aerovelo. Her interests and hobbies range from mathematical proofs to karate to video games, and she enjoys listening to all kinds of music. Things she hopes to learn someday are how to program and languages, including Japanese and Latin.

Alex Selwa (Aerospace Engineering, U of T)

Alex is studying Engineering Science at the University of Toronto. He recently finished his third year in the aerospace option and has returned to work on the new bike. Alex got involved with AeroVelo in 2012 for the design and construction of the Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter. In the summer of 2013, he went to Zürich for an internship at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control. There, he worked in the Flying Machine Arena designing parts for quadrocopters on a much smaller scale. Besides engineering projects, Alex enjoys playing both hockey and piano in his spare time. Alex is being partially funded by the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies.

Marc Jutras (Materials Engineering Graduate, U of T)

Marc Jutras is a returning member to AeroVelo. Having conquered the AHS Sikorsky prize, and wrapping up his undergraduate university career in Materials Science and Engineering, Marc is returning to assist with the design and construction of the fastest human-powered vehicle. He enjoys working on all components of the vehicle, lending his knowledge of materials and composites with the team. In addition, he enjoys being a system administrator and technical support for the team, baking cakes and other desserts, and being the most non-sarcastic person in the world. With his membership on the team, victory is assured.

Calvin Moes (Nano Engineering Graduate, U of T)

A veteran of multiple human-powered projects, Calvin Moes is striving to become the ultimate craftsman. He applies his extensive knowledge and experience in carpentry, metalwork, and composites to every project he works on; he’s always looking for new tools and techniques to learn. Calvin is also training hard as one of AeroVelo’s strongest athletes, and currently ranks 12th on the IHPVA’s all-time list of fastest cyclists. He can often be seen sprinting around downtown Toronto on his well-maintained triathlon-style road bike. Calvin has just completed his undergraduate degree in Engineering Science at the University of Toronto, and intends to begin a Masters of Applied Science program there in September. He continues to place a high value on extracurricular involvement, and is the captain of U of T’s human-powered vehicle design team, the leader of a brass quintet, and a participant in several other music groups. When not building anything and everything, Calvin watches movies, reads sci-fi novels, plays the tuba, and breeds snakes for the pet industry.

Trefor Evans (Aerospace Engineering Graduate, U of T)

For the past two summers, Trefor has worked with AeroVelo through some awesome projects and has been with the University of Toronto’s Human-Powered Vehicle Design team for four years. During the AeroVelo Atlas human-powered helicopter project, he focused on the modelling and optimization of Atlas’ main structure and was one of the team’s pilots during flight testing.  He currently holds the FAI human-powered helicopter endurance record at 86 seconds. With the Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team, Trefor had performed the role as one of the team’s captains for two years and has preformed the role of aerodynamic design lead for the previous two years. He also enjoys racing the team’s vehicles whenever he gets a chance and currently holds the human-powered collegiate world speed record at 123.7 km/hr. Trefor has just graduated from Engineering Science in the Aerospace option and will be continuing work with AeroVelo for the summer. Trefor enjoys biking, running and rugby as well as pretty much anything outdoor.

Victor Ragusila (PhD, Aerospace Engineering, U of T)

Victor Ragusila has previously worked on the Snowbird ornithopter and the Atlas helicopter projects, and has been the team captain for the UofT Human Powered Vehicle Team from 2010-2012. He has also been in charge of the transmission system for the past bikes, leading an epic struggle against chains trying to drop and gears refusing to shift. He graduated from UofT Engineering Science program in 2008, and has since been working on his PhD at UTIAS. Victor’s main interests besides high-speed bicycles include legged robots and prosthetics. He is especially fascinated by how humans walk, and why is it so difficult to recreate that with robots. His main hobby is trying to finish his thesis.

Steven Nesmith (Electrical Engineering Graduate, U of T)

Steven is excited to join the human-powered vehicle community and apply his knowledge of electronics to aid in the creation of the world’s fastest human-powered vehicle. Having just received his BASc in Electrical Engineering, Honours, from U of T, Steven joined the Aerovelo team to develop the electronic vision system for the Eta project. He also worked on a simulation tool that predicts a riders performance for the world record attempt at Battle Mountain. Steven is pursuing his MEng in Electronics at U of T in September, and hopes to one day work at the forefront of the semiconductor device industry. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies with his wife, wasting time on the internet, and crushing his friends in thirteen-hour long sessions of Twilight Imperium.

Justin Li (Software Engineering, University of Waterloo)

Justin is entering his first year of Software Engineering at the University of Waterloo. A new member on the team, he is interested in developing the bike’s vision system and learning as much as he can about the engineering process. Justin has worked on multiple electrical engineering projects in the past, including a metal detector and a robotic drawing device. In his free time he enjoys writing fiction, discovering new music, and exploring Toronto’s downtown core.

 

Cameron Robertson (MASc, PEng, Aerospace Engineering Graduate, U of T)

Cameron co-founded AeroVelo with Todd in 2012, and the two have been working together for 8 years starting with the Human-Powered Ornithopter ‘Snowbird”. He is driven to spark public interest in science, technology, and especially sustainable or environmentally-conscious engineering approaches. AeroVelo’s projects are an exciting platform for this outreach and a fun day-to-day challenge requiring innovation and creativity. Cameron graduated University of Toronto Engineering Science (Aerospace) in 2008, and graduated his MASc from U of T Institute for Aerospace Studies in 2009. His expertise includes structural design and optimization, advanced composite materials, and material selection for lightweight aerostructures. In addition to the Snowbird, Atlas, and ongoing work in speedbikes, he spent 2 years in industry developing small unmanned aircraft systems. Cameron enjoys rock climbing, squash, and sailing in his free time

Todd Reichert (PhD, Aerospace Engineering, U of T)

Todd is driven by a desire to tackle problems that are a tad bit out of the ordinary. In his work with Cameron and AeroVelo he has found an outlet that combines his passions and hobbies in an incredibly engaging and challenging environment. Todd has been involved with a variety of sports from rugby, football and squash to rowing, speed skating and cycling, but the challenges that AeroVelo has taken on have given him the opportunity to push his physical training to the next level. Todd is currently ranked as the world’s 7th fastest human (77.68 mph at Battle Mountain in 2013), and at over 1 horse power for 1 minute, his oversized legs drove the flight of the world’s first human-powered ornithopter (Snowbird) in 2010, and then clinched the so-called unachievable Sikorsky Prize in 2013. Earning his PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Toronto, Todd’s specialty also lies in the aerodynamic design of both aircraft and streamlined land-vehicles, with a specific interest in blending the functional and the beautiful.

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