TECH

Human-Powered Helicopter May Have Nabbed $250,000 Sikorsky Prize (VIDEO)

26/06/2013 10:39 BST

Has this contraption nabbed a $250,000 (£162,514) prize by becoming the first successful human-powered helicopter?

The students from the University of Maryland claim their impressive Gamera II vehicle has flown for 60 seconds above three metres - the requirement for the prize, which has been around since the 1980s.

They say their flight lasted a total of 65.1 seconds - but official confirmation is pending.

Two teams are battling it out to be the first to grab the Sikorsky prize, named after American aviation pioneer, Igor Sikorsky.

The other is a Canadian Kickstarter funded project called Atlas.

So far attempts have been hampered by the incredibly lightweight and delicate machines breaking before the target is reached.

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Human Powered Helicopters

Despite being 105 feet across, the whole craft weighs just 32.2kgs thanks to its carbon fibre frame.

After the above attempt, a statement on the AeroVelo website said:

At 12:43 on Thursday, June 14th, Atlas and its human engine rose to an altitude of roughly 3.3 metres, maintained flight for approximately 65 seconds and drifted no more than 10 metres.

This is an unofficial account of yesterday’s events, and though we would love to say more, we will be awaiting official validation before making any statements or posting any pictures.

The first step is for us to thoroughly review our footage to ensure that all bracing lines are clear of the 3 metre target, and to use our multiple camera angles to map out the 3-dimensional trajectory of Atlas during the flight and ensure that it remained within a 10×10 metre box. We will then submit all the data and the footage to the committee for official review and validation.

Hopefully this process will be quick, but it may take several weeks.

The American Helicopter Society are examining footage and data from the attempt to see of the prize has been won.