Two young Canadian engineers, Cameron Robertson and Todd Reichert, built a giant but lightweight helicopter in 2013. Powered by Reichert, who was suspended under the rotors on a bicycle frame, pedaling hard, "Atlas" took to the air and hovered for just over a minute, winning the coveted Sikorsky Prize, which had eluded aeronautical designers since the 1980s.
Watch the Record-Setting Flight of "Atlas," the Human-Powered Helicopter
"Atlas" soars to win flight competition, propelled by four giant rotors and an athletic designer pedaling a bicycle
This article was originally published with the title "Impossible Flight" in Scientific American 311, 5, (November 2014)