Team including students from University of Toronto last year built world’s first human powered helicopter

A Canadian company has raised more than C$30,000 through Kickstarter to fund an attempt at beating the human-powered land speed record of 133.8 kilometres an hour.

AeroVelo’s attempt on the International Human Powered Vehicle Association (IHPVA) record will be made at Battle Mountain, Nevada, where last year Dutch cyclist, Sebastiaan Bowier set the current benchmark.

The fully-faired bicycle they will use in the record attempt is called Eta, which as AeroVelo explains “is the Greek letter used in engineering as the symbol for efficiency, and for us this means examining every aspect of the design to reduce or eliminate the forces resisting our forward motion.”

They add that “we’re set not only to break the world record, but we calculate that our improvements in aerodynamics, drivetrain efficiency, and rolling resistance will make it possible to achieve speeds in excess of 140 kilometres an hour.”

Past projects undertaken by AeroVelo, working with a team of students from the University of Toronto, include the Snowbird Human-Powered Ornithopter, which in 2010 became the world’s first successful human-powered flapping-wing aircraft.

Last year, the company’s Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter, funded through Kickstarter, won the American Helicopter Society’s Igor Sikorsky Human-Powered Helicopter Competition, a challenge that had been open – and not beaten – for 33 years.

If you're wondering just why and how a faired recumbent like the Eta is so much faster than a standard road bike, here's project engineer Victor Ragusila with the explanation:

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.


OldRidgeback [2871 posts] 3 years ago

Why will a faired recumbent go faster than a standard road bike? It's called aerodynamics.

Stick a tail on that thing and it'll look like a sperm.