Aerovelo Atlas

The Aerovelo Atlas is a human-powered helicopter that achieved the goals of the American Helicopter Society International's Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition to create a human-powered helicopter able to hover for 60 seconds and reach a minimum altitude of three meters. It was designed by Dr. Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson of the University of Toronto and constructed with the help of students and graduates of the University. Control of the Atlas was achieved by leaning the bicycle to tilt the rotor axes.

On June 13, 2013, the Aerovelo team flew the Atlas for 64 seconds and achieved an altitude of 3.3 meters (11 feet) in a Toronto area arena, and captured the $250,000 prize.

The rotor on display is one-quarter of the Atlas quadrotor helicopter. The rotor and truss weighs a mere 25 pounds. The pilot, Dr. Reichert, a nationally-ranked speed skater, powered the Atlas using a modified bicycle that was spooled to the rotors with a thin cable of composite material.

The exhibit also includes a display that provides details about this historic achievement, includes a movie showcasing the successes and failures leading up to the award winning flight, and features a stationary bicycle the visitor can pedal to simulate piloting the Aerovelo Atlas. As one pedals harder, a miniature replica of the Atlas human powered helicopter rises with its rotors turning scaled to the speed of the actual vehicle. There is a camera onboard the Atlas model providing the pilot with a bird's eye view of the museum.

Main Rotor Diameter: 4 by 66 feet, 3 inches
Main Rotor Area: 13,800 square feet
Weight: Empty-121.5 pounds; Gross-286.9 pounds
Powerplant: One Human
Maximum Horsepower: 1.5 hp  
Rotor Speed: 9.7 RPM

Acquisition Source: Donation by Dr. Todd Reichert and Cameron Robertson, Co-Designers