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Canadian Team Claims $250,000 Prize for Human-Powered Helicopter

•, By Jason Paur
And for keeping their lightweight contraption afloat, the team was awarded $250,000 in Toronto for the flight it completed on June 13. But meeting the criteria of a 33-year-old challenge takes time, so they had to wait for verification from the Federation d’Aviation Intenationale before the team could snag the prize.

Engineer Dr. Todd Reichert, along with Cameron Robertson, led the Kickstarter-funded team largely comprised of students from the University of Toronto. He was also the pilot and engine who successfully pedaled his way into aviation history by climbing above three meters and flying for at least 60 seconds while staying within a 10-by-10 meter area. Reichert, a nationally ranked speed skater in Canada, told us after so many flights and failures, the prize-winning attempt almost didn’t happen.

On June 13, after earlier flights reaching between 2 and 2.5 meters, AeroVelo only had enough time for one last attempt before they had to evacuate the indoor soccer facility where they have been flying before evening practices were set to start. And Reichert knew the biggest challenge would happen mid-flight.

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