Latest HPH News

The AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition has been won by AeroVelo!

HPH AeroVelo

AHS International, "AeroVelo Wins the Human Powered Helicopter Competition", July 11, 2013

AHS International, the world’s premier professional vertical flight technical society, congratulates AeroVelo, Inc. for winning its Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition for the first time since the Society established it 33 years ago.

Sikorsky, "Another ‘Impossible Dream’ Achieved in Human Powered Helicopter Challenge", July 11, 2013

“This is an incredible accomplishment,” said Mike Hirschberg, executive director of AHS International. “For a third of a century, the AHS Sikorsky Prize has eluded the best minds and technology available. The technological and theoretical advancements achieved in pursuit of our challenge have been astounding.”

AeroVelo, "AeroVelo Officially Awarded AHS Sikorsky Prize!", July 11, 2013

The American Helicopter Society has officially declared AeroVelo winner of the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition.

The University of Maryland, "UMD Human Powered Helicopter Team Congratulates AHS Sikorsky Prize Winners", July 11, 2013

Team Gamera, the human-powered helicopter student team from the University of Maryland’s A. James Clark School of Engineering, congratulates the Canadian AeroVelo team on their recent flight that fulfilled the requirements of the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition.

Vertiflite, "Human Powered Helicopters Rise Higher", November-December, 2012

Three human powered vehicle teams have flown in the past year, and the boundary of human powered VTOL flight has been pushed beyond the 60 second mark. But even with the incredible advancements seen in human powered helicopter technology in the past year, the challenge of the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter prize still remains unclaimed after 32 years. However, unlike years past, it is safe to say that it will not stay that way forever.

Vertiflite, "Human Powered Helicopters Take-Off," July-August, 2012

Over the past three years, tremendous progress has been made in pursuit of the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter (HPH) Competition, with a half dozen official registrants for the Competition. Recent progress has been made by several teams, with three related here.

National Geographic,
"The Dream of Human-Powered Flight Takes Off" July 19, 2013

In the nearly three decades since the American Helicopter Society launched its Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition, only five craft have managed to get off the ground.

The Guardian, "Helicopter powered by man on bicycle wins $250,000 prize" July 12, 2013

Human-powered helicopter hovers for more than a minute, defying sceptics' claims it was scientifically impossible. 

Aviation Week, "Canada’s AeroVelo Wins Human-Powered Helo Prize" July 12, 2013

Mark Miller, Sikorsky vice president of research and engineering, cites the “very creative way” AeroVelo took advantage of the flexible structure as an example of the “passion, drive and ingenuity” brought out by the competition

Aviation Week, "Human + Helo - How AeroVelo Won the Prize" July 12, 2013

It is fitting that, in Sikorsky Aircraft’s 90th year, the prize for human-powered helicopter flight established 33 years ago by the American Helicopter Society in the name of company founder and industry pioneer Igor Sikorsky should finally be won.

The Wall Street Journal, "Canadian Team Pedals Helicopter Into Record Books", July 11, 2013

Aviation history was made in an indoor soccer field just outside Toronto last month when a pair of former University of Toronto engineering students relied on pedal power to fly their helicopter into the record books.

Geekosystem, "Leonardo da Vinci, Eat Your Heart Out: AeroVelo Wins Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition", July 11, 2013

Up until this year, the AHS had never awarded the prize to anyone due to its extremely strict guidelines, which include a flight duration of 60 seconds and altitude of 3 meters (9.8 ft) while remaining in a 10 meter (32.8 ft) square.

CBC News, "Human-powered Hover Bike Wins Coveted $250K Prize", July 11, 2013

The highly-coveted Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition — known as the AHS Sikorsky prize for short — was awarded for the first time in its history Thursday to AeroVelo, a Toronto-based engineering team made up of University of Toronto students, alumni and volunteers.

Popular Mechanics, "Finally! A Human-Powered Helicopter Wins the $250,000 Sikorsky Prize" July 11, 2013

A quixotic Kickstarter-funded project has won the Sikorsky Prize, one of the most elusive goals in aviation, by keeping a human powered helicopter aloft for more than a minute.

The Huffington Post, "AeroVelo, University Of Toronto Team, Win Human Powered Helicopter Flight Competition" July 11, 2013

The winning hand-built helicopter — nicknamed Atlas — is huge, measuring nearly 47 metres across, but also surprisingly light for its size, at just 54 kilograms.

The Wall Street Journal, "Canadian Team Pedals Helicopter Into Record Books" July 11, 2013

Todd Reichert, a member of team AeroVelo Inc., and pilot of the prize-winning flight, spoke recently to Canada Real Time about the record-breaking accomplishment.

Aviation Week, "Human-Powered Helo - Prize Time?" June 28, 2013

Canada’s AeroVelo team is waiting for AHS to rule whether a June 14 flight by its Atlas quadrotor has won the prize.

The University of Maryland, "Gamera Team Breaks New Ground in Duration and Altitude" June 27, 2013

The University of Maryland’s Gamera human powered helicopter team broke new ground in altitude and duration in a series of flights conducted at Meadow Event Park in Doswell, Va., June 24-26, 2013.

The Wall Street Journal, "Update: Canadians Claim Historic Human-Powered Helo Flight" June 14, 2013

AeroVelo Inc., a team of former University of Toronto engineering students, tweeted late Thursday that it may have achieved the very specific flight conditions for claiming the Sikorsky Prize.

The Varsity, "U of T’s Human-Powered Helicopter Poised to Make History" June 13, 2013

Team AeroVelo pushes the limits of engineering and design in their pursuit of coveted Sikorsky Prize.

RotorHub, "Impossible Challenge?" June/July, 2013

Mike Hirschberg, executive director of AHS International, asks if sustained human-powered helicopter flight will ever become a reality, as his organization continues to challenge engineeers through the AHS Sikorsky prize.

CBS Evening News, "On The Road: College Students Reach for the Sky" June 14, 2013

As part of our continuing series "On The Road," Steve Hartman meets a group of engineering students from the University of Maryland who are fighting funding gaps and gravity to find a way to make a human-powered helicopter fly.

The Globe and Mail, "In Pictures: Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter Takes Off in Toronto" June 9, 2013

The [AeroVelo] helicopter is designed to operate under human power and was built to compete in the American Helicopter Society Sikorsky prize. The team is doing tests through the week with the goal of reaching three meters and staying airborne for 60 seconds.

CTV Toronto, "A Delicate Attempt to Set a World Record" June 10, 2013

A delicate attempt to set a world record is underway inside a Vaughan [Ontario] sports dome. Engineering students [at AeroVelo] are working to build the world’s first helicopter propelled by people.

University of Maryland, "TerpVision 10: Gamera - Reaching New Heights" May 31, 2013

A group of [University of Maryland] Clark School of Engineering students has set their sights high with a human propelled helicopter called “Gamera.” The challenge is one issued by the American Helicopter Society that has stumped the aerospace engineering community for years., "AeroVelo reaches 3 meters!" March 24, 2013

AHS International congratulates AeroVelo for reaching an altitude of about 3 m during a flight test on Friday March 15, 2013 of their "Atlas" Human Powered Helicopter (HPH).

AeroVelo, "Friday Flight Plan," March 14, 2013

Tomorrow we’ll be making another attempt at the AHS Sikorsky Prize. This last week we installed small aluminum inserts to fix the stripping problem we had last week, and we’ve adjusted all structural lines to their final positions. We’re confident, collected and ready. Wish us luck!

AeroVelo, "Flight Attempt Friday: Power Numbers," March 6, 2013

After two weeks of video analysis, minor modifications and weight saving measures, the team is preparing for another AHS Sikorsky Prize Attempt this Friday, March 8th., "Competitors Close in on AHS Sikorsky Prize," March 3, 2013

AHS congratulates the AeroVelo and University of Maryland teams for successful flight testing of their human powered helicopters in pursuit of the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Prize.

Washington Post, "U-Md. Students Try to Win $250,000 Prize for Hovering in a Man-Powered Helicopter," February 28, 2013

Confidence was high Wednesday as the team prepped test flights, making small adjustments to the rotors. Team members said they thought the prize was within their reach.

NBC, "U-Md. Students Try to Win $250,000 Prize for Hovering in a Man-Powered Helicopter," February 28, 2013

University of Maryland engineering student Colin Gore performs a test flight in Baltimore on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, in a one-man, human-powered helicopter that he and fellow students designed and built.

The Baltimore Sun, "University of Maryland Students Fly Human-Powered Helicopter," February 28, 2013

"It's one of the most thrilling things I've ever done in my life"

Wired, "Human-Powered Helicopter Attempts Prize-Winning Flight Today," February 28, 2013

The team already holds the record for the longest human-powered flight and the highest altitude, but so far has not met all of the requirements of the Sikorsky prize in a single flight. That could change today when the team attempts another flight., "Human-Powered Helos Close on Sikorsky Prize," February 26, 2013

Two of the three teams active the American Helicopter Society International's $250,000 Igor I. Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition could stage prize attempts any moment now., "NAA Celebrates Memorable Aviation Records of 2012," February 21, 2013

Engineering students at the University of Maryland set a new record for human-powered helicopter flight endurance at 65.1 seconds in Gamera II.

Vertical, "Canadian AeroVelo Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter Expands Flight Envelope," February 4, 2013

Leading the AeroVelo Atlas team are Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson, two youthful engineering graduates of the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS)., "AHS Congratulates AeroVelo on Its Successful HPH Flights," January 26, 2013

Flights on Friday, January 25 achieved about 30 seconds on one flight and an altitude of 4-5 feet (based on the lowest points of the four rotor systems)., "UMD’s Human Powered Helicopter Competing to Win $10,000 from Boca Bearing", November 26, 2012

“We are very close but have not met the requirements of the AHS Sikorsky Prize yet. To get there, we need to implement a control/steering system as well as reduce our weight where we can. These tasks take time, effort, and money to complete. Should we win this competition we will be putting this money towards improving Gamera in our last big push over the finish line in 2013!”

AeroVelo, "17 Second Controlled Flight of Atlas", November 26, 2012

On September 3rd, Atlas became the fourth human-powered helicopter in history to achieve flight, and the first to do so with active controls.

ABC News, "Human-Powered Helicopter Motors Toward New Frontier", November 14, 2012

Getting a helicopter 3 meters off the ground for 1 minute doesn't seem like much of an achievement, but doing it without the power of a motorized engine has stumped engineers for the entirety of human history. We spoke with PhD student and Project Manager William Staruk and pilot Colin Gore to learn more about the project and see what's next., "Human Powered Helicopter Closing In On Elusive Sikorsky Prize at University of Maryland", November 9, 2012

University of Maryland Clark School of Engineering Students appear to be tantalizingly close to breaking an aviation barrier that has remained elusive for 32 years.

Discovery Channel, "Daily Planet", October 2, 2012

“Daily Planet” did an extended feature on the AeroVelo Atlas project. The Atlas segment starts about 8 minutes into the program. An extended version of the construction footage is also available at

Engineering @ Maryland, "Gamera Soars Again!", Fall 2012

Record-Breaking Flights Make History for Clark School Students.

Aero-News Network, "Canadian To Receive FAI Grant For Human-Powered Helicopter Project," October 21, 2012

Todd Reichert named as winner of the Prince Alvaro de Orleans Borbon Grant for a human-powered helicopter project called 'Atlas'.

NPR, "A Human-Powered Helicopter: Straight Up Difficult," October 14, 2012

More people have walked on the moon than have successfully flown a human-powered helicopter. Just like their crafts, these pilots have to be light and strong.

NPR, "Timeline: The History of Human-Powered Flight," October 13, 2012

Ever since Leonardo Da Vinci sketched plans for a bird-like machine in one of his notebooks, hundreds of inventors have tried to engineer their way into the skies. But flying under human power — and human power alone — isn't an easy task.

Popular Science, "Maryland Student Hovers 8 Feet High in Human-Powered Helicopter, Smashing Previous Records," August 30, 2012

"Records are made to be broken, and a bunch of students at the University of Maryland are smashing the ones they just set earlier this summer." Check out the video of their record-breaking flight!, "AHS Congratulates AeroVelo for Human Powered Helicopter First Flight!," August 30, 2012

The AeroVelo Atlas human powered helicopter made its first flight on Tuesday, August 28, 2012, as part of the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition. They are now the third human powered helicopter now flying.

Popular Science, "They Said It Couldn't Be Done!," August 29, 2012

For years, many assumed that flight required more lift and more power than the human body alone could provide (although the admonitions did little to stop myriad failed attempts). But inventors persisted., "Gamera team continues setting records," August 28, 2012

University of Maryland continues setting records with its Gamera human powered helicopter., "Human-powered helicopter: Toronto engineers aiming to win elusive Sikorsky flight prize," August 26, 2012

Later this week, in the not-so-clandestine openness of the Vaughan Soccer Centre, a secretive team of Toronto engineers, tests a dream more than three decades in the making., "AHS salutes the UMD Gamera team progress," August 9, 2012

The UMD team reaches a tethered hover time of 70 seconds in the AHS Human Powered Helicopter Competition., "Upturn Helicopter Flies!," July 16, 2012

NTS Works had a successful first flight of its Upturn human powered helicopter (HPH).

NBC News, "Human-Powered Helicopter Breaks Record With 50-Second Flight," June 25, 2012

Improvements allowed the team to break the 18-year-old record and post a time of 50 seconds in the air at 2 feet up.

Washington Post, "Watch a massive human-powered chopper take off," June 22, 2012

It is called Gamera II, which translates to “Flying Turtle” in Japanese. They flew a turtle!

The Atlantic, "Human-Powered Helicopters: A 600 Year-Old Dream in Sight," June 21, 2012

A team of engineers just broke a world record. But they're only getting started.

Los Angeles Times, "For entrant in Sikorsky helicopter contest, a lift of faith," April 23, 2012

The Sikorsky has gnawed at him since 1989, when he led a team at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo that built the first muscle-driven chopper to get off the ground.

Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Scotts Valley inventor puts human-powered helicopter to the test; engineer aims for international aviation prize," October 23, 2011

In 1989, Saiki, heading up a team of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo engineers, broke the record for human-powered helicopter flight.

Washington Post, "New Record for U-Md. Human-Powered Helicopter: 12.4-Second Flight," July 14, 2011

For University of Maryland engineering students who watched as their 100-pound, human-powered helicopter float off a gym floor Wednesday, 12.4 seconds must have felt like eternity.

Washington Post, "At the University of Maryland, a 21st-century twist on the Wright Brothers," May 12, 2011

After days of adjusting, rebuilding, testing and super-gluing, a human-powered helicopter at the University of Maryland left the ground for about four seconds late Thursday afternoon.

Washington Post, "U-Md. team aims to be first in human copter flight," May 11, 2011

“I’m convinced that we can do it," Pines said. "To me this is . . .inspiring our kids, showing them that they can be the next aviation pioneers. Just like the Wright brothers.”

Team AeroVelo pushes the limits of engineering and design in their pursuit of coveted Sikorsky Prize