Human-powered helicopter stays aloft 64 seconds for $250K prize

July 12, 2013 at 12:25 AM
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VAUGHAN, Ontario, July 11 (UPI) -- The Canadian team behind a human-powered helicopter said it took home a $250,000 prize after the craft hovered 3 meters in the air for a full minute.

Aerovolo, the team that developed the Kickstarter-backed project, said Thursday its June 13 flight secured the Sikorsky prize, established in 1980 to be awarded to a human-powered craft that could hover at or above 3 meters for 60 seconds without straying more than a few meters in any direction, NBC News reported.

The helicopter, dubbed "Atlas," is 162 feet across but weighs a mere 121 pounds. A professional cyclist powers the machine, which captures the energy in a flywheel and distributes it to four 33-foot rotors.

A Japanese team recorded a 14-second flight in 1994, while students at the University of Maryland got to 50 seconds last year. The Aerovolo team's record was 64 seconds.

The Sikorsky prize was named for aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky.

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