Sikorsky, AHS International to offer new rotorcraft challenge

Sikorsky, a Lockheed Martin Company, (NYSE: LMT) and the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International have launched the Sikorsky-AHS Hover for a Day Challenge, a new competition to demonstrate a game-changing level of efficiency in rotorcraft with a USD50,000 prize at stake, the companies said.

Sikorsky Innovations, the technology development team within Sikorsky´s Engineering & Technology group, is working with members of AHS International to lead the competition coordination. Sikorsky provides helicopter design, manufacture and service.

Sikorsky vice president of engineering and technology Mark Miller said, “With this new competition, we are challenging aviation engineers to stretch their thinking with regard to how a helicopter performs in what they do best–hover. This challenge is to hover for 24 hours, while still demonstrating other helicopter key attributes, as well as new levels of efficiency and reliability. We hope to keep the spirit of Igor Sikorsky alive, the spirit that tackled many seemingly impossible tasks and created our industry as a result.”

Sikorsky Innovations VP Chris Van Buiten said, “We think it´s going to take groundbreaking changes in efficiency of rotor, engine and energy storage and delivery in order to hover continuously for a full day. These efforts may produce new technologies, in terms of airfoils, rotor structures, transmission and drive, engine and energy storage.”

In a previous challenge, AHS and Sikorsky awarded a $250,000 prize for the AHS Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition, which endured 33 years to prove what many suggested was impossible: to create a helicopter using only human-generated power that could rise three meters (9.8 feet) and hover over a 10-meter-by-10-meter (32.8 ft) box for one minute.

The winner of that competition was AeroVelo Inc., consisting of a team of students from the University of Toronto and led by UT graduate engineers. AeroVelo flew its Atlas vehicle above three meters and hovered for approximately 64 seconds, capturing the prize for the decades-long competition in June 2013.

Lockheed Martin is a global security and aerospace company that employs approximately 125,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services.

AHS International is a professional vertical flight technical society. The non-profit brings together industry, academia and governments to tackle the toughest challenges in vertical flight.