Finally, a human-powered helicopter | Bangkok Post: learning

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Finally, a human-powered helicopter

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A Canadian team has finally won a cash prize on offer for 33 years for creating a human-powered helicopter. It works, but don't expect to ever see one like it on sale. 

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Finally, a human-powered helicopter

Thirty-three years ago, the American Helicopter Society offered an $10,000 reward to anyone who could build a human-powered helicopter.

Specifically the challenge was to create a flying machine that would be able to reach a height of three meters, fly for 30 seconds by human power alone, and stay in a 10 by 10 meter area.

Despite raising the award to its current $250,000, no-one has been able to accomplish this feat – until now.

A Canadian team from the University of Toronto finally snatched the prize this week.

The winning vehicle is called the Atlas, and was designed by a team of about 20 students and young professionals. They formed a company named AeroVelo with its first mission to win the cash prize.

The Atlas doesn't look like a helicopter. Since it is human-powered, it is extremely light just 55 kilograms – but it spans a sprawling 49.4 meters.

AeroVelo co-founder Cameron Robertson, 26, said the aircraft is designed to be ridden by someone 160 pounds or less. It also requires a fairly strong pedaler, requiring about one horsepower to operate, when the average person could probably manage a half horsepower, he said.

The winning June 13 flight was pedaled by team leader Todd Reichert, 31, an aerodynamics expert and competitive speed skater.

Watch the winning flight here:

Adapted from an AFP agency story

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Vocabulary:

accomplish: to achieve something - ทำได้สำเร็จ

aerodynamics: the qualities of an object that affect the way it moves through the air - กลศาสตร์ที่เกี่ยวกับการเคลื่อนไหวของอากาศและก๊าซ

challenge: something that needs a lot of skill, energy, and determination to deal with or achieve - สิ่งที่ท้าทาย, การท้าทาย

current: of the present time - ปัจจุบัน

expert: someone who has a particular skill or who knows a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ

extremely: very; to a very high degree - อย่างมาก, อย่างยิ่ง

feat: an action or a piece of work that needs skill, strength or courage - ความสำเร็จ,ความสามารถ,ฝีมือ

mission: an important piece of work that a person or a group of people has been given to do - ภาระกิจ หน้าที่

operate: to use or control a machine or make it work - เดินเครื่อง

pedal: to push the pedals of a bicycle round with your feet - ถีบจักรยาน

professional: a person who does a job that needs special training and a high level of education - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญในวิชาชีพ,ผู้มีวิชาชีพ

reward: something given in exchange for good behaviour or good work, etc - รางวัล

snatch: to take or get something quickly - คว้า

span: to stretch right across something, from one side to the other - ก้าวข้าม

specifically: in a detailed and exact way; especially for one purpose - เฉพาะ, เฉพาะเจาะจง

sprawling: built over a wide area in a way - เกี่ยวกับพื้นที่กว้าง

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