The Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was set up in the 1980s, with the simple idea to create a human powered helicopter. In practice, however, this is ridiculously hard to do and the prize has never been claimed.
Competitors are required to keep their contraptions hovering for 60 seconds at an altitude of three metres, while contained in a 10 metre square. There is a prize purse of $250,000, offered up by Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation for those who can complete the challenge.
According to the Huffington Post, a group of American students recently got very close. University of Maryland freshman Henry Enerson was the pilot for the initial Gamera flight, which ran smoothly and got Gamera up four feet for approximately 50 seconds. Enerson pedalled the craft with foot pedals and controlled it with a crank.
The 76-pound helicopter was constructed from carbon, foam and balsa wood and cost approximately $150,000 to construct. It has 43 rotors that spin at approximately 20 revolutions per minute.