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Watch as the first-ever human-powered helicopter takes flight

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What you're about to see has never been done before in the history of aeronautics. A team of engineers from the University of Toronto have claimed a $250,000 prize after building and flying the first-ever human-powered hover bike.

After remaining unclaimed for the past 33 years, the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition (or AHS Sikorsky prize for short) has finally been won by a group of university students, alumni, and volunteers. The American Helicopter Society presented the winners with the cheque.

Called Atlas, the contraption requires a person to pedal a customized carbon-fiber Cervelo bike frame as four massive rotor blades made from light carbon tubes slowly rotate, lifting the bike. It weighs only 115 pounds (52 kg), has four 67-foot (20.4 m) rotors, and spans a width of 190 feet (58 m).


Here's a news clip from the CBC, which also shows a rather scary crash from a prior attempt.

The team was able to get Atlas to climb 10.8 feet (3.3 meters) for 64 seconds. To earn the prize, it needed to reach a height of 10 feet for a duration of 60 seconds, while also needing to be steered such that it remained within a 10-by-10 meter square. It took the team 15 seconds to get Atlas to the 10.8 feet altitude.


The test flight was made in an indoor soccer center near Toronto.