Winners of the 4thAnnual Helicopter 2050 Challenge!

Congratulations to Hana B., the grand prize winner, and finalists John Paul G., Nathan L., Ekien N., and Courtney T.!

Grand prize pinner: Hana B., Age 16; Idea: Skylift Rescue 968

By mimicking the bone structure of birds, my Skylift Rescue 968 will be lighter and more aerodynamic than existing helicopters. The main body of the helicopter is made out of recycled fiber-composite materials, which use 3D vascular networks to self-heal. As a result, this helicopter can automatically repair cracks with the aid of a technician. The building process itself will take less energy because my helicopter will be made out of recycled plastic, and renewable and biodegradable materials. In addition, the ionic thruster engines will release zero emissions and create zero waste. One of the global challenges is saving endangered species because it is vital to the environment and human health.

Here are some photos of the winner celebration event held on November 18, 2014 at the Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, CT. Also, click here to check out the News 12 report of the event.

Vance Hudson Vance Hudson
Hana Bidon with her grand prize check Leon Tynes, high school technology teacher at ESUMS (Engineering & Science University Magnet School)


Courtney T., Age 16; Idea: Titan

A full-scale helicopter capable of fully autonomous flight, though a backup remotepilot system is in place per FAA regulations for unmanned aerial systems. Titan utilizes a gasoline engine, but is also covered in solar sheets (solar film) from the innovative start-up, Alta Devices. By covering the helicopter in solar film, we help to offset damage done to both the environment and the efficiency of the system itself by building in some redundancy. Though we are running out of space on which to farm, unmanned systems can greatly increase the efficiency of farms that exist today. My search & rescue design is able to find a child as small as 4' tall within a 2 mile diameter area within 22 minutes, and my precision agriculture design has been shown to increase corn crop yield six-fold for the farmer sixfold.

Ekien N., Age 11; Idea: Naiad

My helicopter is modeled after dragonflies. It has two sets of propellers at the top that flies like a normal dragonfly and a long retractable tail that gets water for its fuel. The Naiad can flip through the air with the greatest of ease, loop like a roller-coaster, and get access to most places that most helicopters can't get to. The Naiad is environmentally friendly. It feeds on hydrogen which it uses water to break down and then releases water vapor back into the air. The Naiad has unmanned robotic mini-versions of itself called Darnits. The Naiad's pilot can command a whole swarm of Darnits! The Naiad can use these Darnits to go inside burning buildings, rubbles, or even atomic warzone. The Naiad and its Darnits can be used in rescue mission, espionage, or even entertainment.

John Paul G., Age 10; Idea: JP-10 Swifter: Helicopter of the People

The JP-10 Swifter will move people from place to place. According to the United Nations, "The current world population of 7.2 billion is projected to increase by 1 billion over the next 12 years and reach 9.6 billion by 2050." It accomplishes its task by being small, compact, and maneuverable. Your JP-10 can land almost anywhere. It will take off from any roof or driveway. Its rotor is on the bottom, surrounded by a guard, for safety. The JP-10 helicopter is hybrid-powered using both liquid fuel and battery. However, if battery technologies advance sufficiently, then we can eliminate the use of fossil fuels, making it an Eco-friendly helicopter. Liquid fuel can be stored inside the carbon-fiber shell that makes up the structure of the JP-10. The carbon-fiber is arranged in a pattern that resembles a honeycomb, increasing structural stability.

Sikorsky Nathan L., Age 15; Idea: Pathos

The PATHOS is a light craft with trapezoidal wings that looks deceptively like an airplane, but is actually a helicopter. The PATHOS could be militarized, acting as a close support or attack aircraft. By 2050, with ever expanding, congested urban areas, the stealthy PATHOS would play a crucial role in special operations and counter-terrorism. On the other hand, as a civilian craft, it would serve well in this environment as an agile and speedy rescue helicopter. The aircraft would be constructed largely from carbon fiber and lightweight metal alloys reinforced with graphine for structural strength, and would mainly rely on biofuels. By having both jet propulsion and "bladeless" fan technology, the Pathos can fly to the target area quickly, perform its mission, then return home.

Facilitator Program
Helicopter 2050 Challenge