24 Sep 2018

Five years since Alexis Reichert broke the human-powered rotorcraft world record for women

On September 24, 2013, Canadian pilot Alexis Reichert set a new female world record for flight duration in a human-powered rotorcraft by staying airborne for 53 seconds in the Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter.

Ratified by FAI, her record-breaking flight fell into the air sports category Experimental/New Technologies.

It was conducted at The Soccer Centre in Ontario, Canada less than a year after initial flight-testing of the Atlas began, and was measured using video analysis of the flight data.

Alexis’ achievement came just a few months after her brother Todd Reichert smashed the general record by managing a 64-second flight, during which the Atlas reached a height of 3.3 metres.

His efforts allowed the Atlas project to claim the $250,000 AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Challenge requiring a human to hover to an altitude of 3 metres under his/her own power, and to remain aloft for at least 1 minute in 2013.

It was partly funded by the $20,000 Prince Alvaro de Orleans Borbon Grant – awarded to Todd Reichert by FAI in 2012.

The Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter is the brainchild of AeroVelo, the company Todd Reichert set up with his partner Cameron Robertson to work in collaboration with the Human-Powered Vehicle Design Team at the University of Toronto in Canada.

About the Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter

Purely human powered, the Atlas Helicopter spans more than 45 metres, weighs less than 55 kilograms, and has no means of energy storage.

The four rotors are arranged in a square pattern and connected by a wire-braced truss structure, with the pilot suspended on an upright bicycle frame from the centre.

Constructed and tested in Canada, it is composed primarily of carbon fibre tubes.

Photo credit: AeroVelo