A Human Powered Helicopter? We’ll find out Wednesday, May 11th!

5.10.2011 — 2 Comments

The engineering students at the University of Maryland are my latest heroes. How I wish I could be there for their maiden voyage this week as they attempt to win the Sikorsky Prize which has been offered by the American Helicopter Society since 1980 without a winner.

The requirements to win the $250,000 prize:
Hover for 1-minute
Reach a height of 3-meters (10 feet)
Remain in a 10-meter box from lift off

The pilot for the test flight will be University of Maryland grad student, Judy Wexler. With a female pilot, if the team successfully flies their helicopter, they will also receive the world record for the first human-powered helicopter piloted by a female!

The aircraft itself is HUGE – nearly 1/3 the size of a football field and yet engineered to weight about 100-pounds. The video quotes a finish-weight of nearly 140lbs, but they have managed to decrease it to around 100!

I will be following this story to see how their maiden voyage turns out. The first full flight attempt will be TOMORROW, May 11th, and they are planning to live-stream the event here starting at 9AM EDT.

Here is a well-produced video explaining the project and their goal in wining the Sikorsky Prize:

What is mind blowing about this whole thing is that the team of engineers have ONLY been working on this project for 2-years. More information on the project, the team, and the details of the initial flight can be found here.

  • http://www.joshkoskinen.com Josh Koskinen

    Dude, this is AWESOME. I will for sure be watching it tomorrow morning. Thanks for sharing.

    • http://www.stevansheets.com Stevan

      Josh, I’m glad to know we’ll both be tuned in together! I have another webcast on Wednesday mornings (The Techology Show), but I’m planning on having this open in another tab, too!