AHMEC inaugurated its newest exhibit, the Interactive Aerovelo Atlas, on Saturday, November 26, when one of the original Aerovelo Atlas designers and company co-founders visited the museum. Cameron Robertson demonstrated the four-paneled, interactive stationary bicycle-based display that informs and mimics the Atlas’ historic flight, and offered a slide show presentation of Atlas’ history.
The Atlas won the American Helicopter Society International’s Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition by hovering for 64 seconds (with sufficient station keeping) and achieving an altitude of 3.3 meters (11 feet). Designed by Robertson and Dr. Todd Reichert of the University of Toronto and constructed with the help of University students and graduates, the Atlas consisted of four Mylar-covered rotors, four lightweight trusses and four hubs connected to a single man-powered bicycle. Controlling the quadrotor copter entailed leaning the bicycle to tilt the rotor axes.
Following Aerovelo’s success on June 13, 2013, Robertson and Reichert donated three of the rotors to two Canadian nonprofits and the fourth to AHMEC. It hangs in the helicopter gallery above the new Interactive Atlas exhibit.
The exhibit features a stationary bicycle connected to a miniature version of the Atlas. When pedaled, the bicycle’s power lifts the model along a pole toward the gallery’s ceiling. Equipped with a camera for a bird’s eye view of the museum, the mock Atlas remains hoisted for a minute before returning to its origin.
AHMEC is proud to add this special exhibit to the newly designated Lee Douglas Pioneer Hall. It rests adjacent another recently added interactive exhibit dedicated to Pioneers of Helicopter Innovation.