Sikorsky Prize: Fabricating a Human Powered Helicopter
The award for making a ‘Human Powered Helicopter’ is named after illustrious helicopter trailblazer, Igor Sikorsky. The challenge to win a cash prize of $250,000 by American Helicopter Society is to make a ‘Human Powered Helicopter’ which can go straight up to a height of 10 feet for 60 seconds staying in an area of 10 square metres. The task seems easy to read but as the stats speak for themselves; this award is unclaimed from more than three decades now.
At present, two teams in peripheral countries namely; United States of America and Canada are ‘shedding some serious sweat’ to claim this heralded award. The American team comprises of under-graduate and post-graduate students from University of Maryland working under the guidance of director of Rotorcraft Centre; Inderjeet Chopra who initiated this endeavouring act in 2008. They have named their flying machine as Gamera. The Canadian team has 8 members working under Todd Reichert and are based at Tottenham, Ontario. They have named their helicopter, Atlas.
The video tagged above highlights activities of University Of Maryland’s students who have been able to achieve a maximum height of 8 feet. Their Human Powered Helicopter suffers from one major flaw which is ‘draft’ caused due to the very less weight of their machine whereas the Canadian machine is yet to take its first flight. To get more insights about this astounding challenge you can visit npr.org which has all the info about fabricating the ‘Human Powered Helicopter.’