A Human-Powered Helicopter Funded On Kickstarter Has Won An Elusive $250,000 Aviation Prize

Aerovelo human-powered helicopter

The Sikorsky Prize — offering $250,000 for a human-powered helicopter flight lasting 60 seconds — has gone unclaimed for 30 years, as many projects have tried and failed to meet its requirements.

But Canadian startup Aerovelo has finally claimed the elusive prize after their human-powered Atlas helicopter stayed aloft for over a minute inside a Toronto soccer stadium, Popular Mechanics reports.

The Atlas helicopter, originally funded on Kickstarter, consists of a single-wheeled, modified bicycle attached to a lightweight frame featuring four spindly blades. The Atlas is extremely fragile, with test flights often resulting in a broken helicopter that must be repaired before the next attempt.

While other projects have come close to success, pasts failures have been due to the Sikorsky Prize’s stipulations. Helicopters must be within 10 square meters in size and rise to an altitude of 3 meters during flight.

But the Aerovelo team pulled it off, securing official certification from the Federation d’Aviation Intenationale in charge of judging flight attempts.

You can watch the award-winning helicopter flight below.

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