Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius.
In the early 1480s he created a design for a machine that he described as an ‘aerial screw’. His notes from the time suggest that he built small models that flew. However, there were no indications that he attempted to build one that would accommodate people. He also didn’t appear to include any device to stop the rotors from making the craft rotate.
That sounds like a formula for severe motion sickness to me!
But here we are in 2013 and Da Vinci’s aerial screw, or helicopter, as we know call these flying machines, is a reality.
This incarnation of Da Vinci’s vision won the 2013 AHS Sikorsky Prize of $250,000. The prize was there for whoever created the first human-powered helicopter. The AHS Sikorsky Prize began in 1980 and, over the past 33 years, teams from around the world have pushed the limits of technology to create what was thought to be an impossible goal.
Yet, here it is. The first human-powered helicopter. Fresh from the blue prints made by Da Vinci, with a few tweaks added.
Its flight lasted 64.1 seconds and reached an altitude of 3.3 metres.
It goes to show that a good idea eventually comes into fruition. Although, waiting 530 years is longer than it takes most startups to get off the ground.
(Image source: Wikimedia)
Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter – AHS Sikorsky Prize Flight