VFS 24 Hour Hover Challenge

The Official Rules for
The Vertical Flight Society's Igor I. Sikorsky 24 Hour Hover Challenge
are now available!

AHS Avenir logo   Sikorsky, A Lockheed Martin Company logo (100px high)

Igor I. Sikorsky photoOn May 18, 2016, at Forum 72, AHS International (now the Vertical Flight Society) and Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin Company, announced a new vertical flight competition: The VFS Igor I. Sikorsky 24 Hour Hover Challenge. [Sikorsky press release]

This competition will be conducted in the same vein as the VFS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition, also sponsored by Sikorsky, and also honoring the company founder, Igor I. Sikorsky. This prize was won after 33 years by AeroVelo in June 2013.

“Just like the Human Powered Helicopter Competition, the statement is simple, but the solution may be technically very complex. We hope the Challenge sparks the next generation of aviation engineers with great ideas to try to do something that may be impossible,” said Mike Hirschberg, Executive Director of the Vertical Flight Society.

The Vertical Flight Technical Society is partnering with Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company for this competition in order to inspire innovative thinkers with an incredibly difficult challenge: hover a heavier-than-air flying machine for 24 hours, while still demonstrating other typical helicopter attributes. 

AHS 24 Hour Hover Challenge logoWe're very excited to kick off this new challenge. The Official Rules for the VFS Igor I. Sikorsky 24 Hour Hover Challenge go into the competition details, but in summary, the requirements are to demonstrate the following key characteristics in flight:

  • Hover for at least 24 hours, over three different stations that are 1 km apart
  • Carry 80 kg payload, simulating the approximate weight of an adult human (176.4 lb)
  • Unoccupied, to minimize the risk of injury

At Forum 73, on May 10, 2017, AHS International hosted an invited session on VTOL Prizes, which included these two presentations: 

Questions about the Rules? Please send them to the 24-Hour Hover Challenge Team. All questions and their answers are posted here: 

Q1. Is there an added bonus / prize purse for VTOL apparatuses that are able to hover under human power, while meeting the original - 60s, 3m, (minus the 10-sq-m) - HPH Challenge and maintaining the 24-Hour Hover requirements, [and subsequently include a prize purse exceeding the original $25K]...?

A1. No. The aircraft is required to be unmanned, and therefore a human powered helicopter is not eligible for this challenge. In addition, note that the propulsion system is up to the designer, but there are no additional funds for any specific propulsion choice.

Q2. Will the 24-Hour Hover Challenge [judging] be conducted inside or outside...?

A2. Due to the size of the test area required (at least 1 km per edge of the quadrilateral triangle), it is expected — but not required — that all testing will be conducted outside.

Q3. Will a tolerance or parenthesis of wind speed during the 24-Hour Hover Challenge be determined by the 24-H. H. Team [therefore increasing the prize purse a bit more]...?

A3. No. The wind parameters are stated in the official rules. There are no additional funds for any additional testing.

Q4: Is there is a limit on the maximum size of the vehicle? The maximum rotor diameter or if the vehicle should fit inside a box of certain size. I did not see that explicitly stated in the rules.

A4: No limit on the size of the vehicle. The Reference Point of the vehicle determines its position, not the gross dimensions of the vehicle.

Updated Aug. 23, 2017