A Human-Powered Helicopter

Andrew Sullivan —  Jul 12 2013 @ 6:07pm

Carl Franzen explains the above video:

A Canadian duo and their Kickstarter-funded, pedal-powered helicopter have won one of the longest-standing challenges in the history of aviation — keeping a human-powered aircraft hovering up in the air at height of at least 9.8 feet, within a 32.8 by 32.8-foot square, for 60 seconds minimum. The challenge, known as the Sikorsky prize, has withstood at numerous failed attempts since it was established in 1980, 33 years ago, even with a $250,000 bounty. But it was finally bested earlier in June by the Atlas, a gigantic human-powered helicopter designed by Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, aeronautical engineers from the University of Toronto, who cofounded a company AeroVelo. …

The Atlas is controlled by having a single pilot pedal a bicycle-like wheel to turn the aircraft’s four enormous, independent rotors (one at each corner). The entire span of the craft is 190 feet. On June 13th, with Reichert pedaling away in the pilot’s seat in an indoor soccer stadium in Vaughn, Ontario, the Atlas reached a height of nearly 11 feet, stayed aloft for 64.11 seconds, and drifted only 32 feet.