Winners of the 5thAnnual Helicopter 2050 Challenge!

Congratulations to Nora H., the grand prize winner!
And finalists Willy T., Mark L., Thomas A., and Udayketan M.!

Grand prize winner: Nora H., Age 16; Idea: Eco-Copter 111

Nora's Eco-Copter 111 design envisions the conservation of essential resources and elimination of pollution. By replacing the motor, fuel storage tanks, and the entire drivetrain of the helicopter with an all electric system, this significant source of pollution would no longer be a concern. The battery would be charged by miniature solar panels coating the blades and fuselage, and would have a longer lifespan than most chemical batteries. The recycled materials used in the construction of the helicopter are also environmentally friendly, and they envision the elimination of the air and water pollution that could otherwise result from creation of new parts. Eco-Copter 111's all electric power system was judged to be among the most economically sustainable and environmentally friendly design ideas. With an innovative landing system concept that mimics the arresting gear of naval aircraft, it is envisioned to take off and land on short improvised runways. The helicopter would operate primarily in open seas with high sun exposure that would offer a unique opportunity to implement the battery charged by micro solar panels on the fuselage of the aircraft.

Here are some photos of the winner celebration event held on December 8, 2015 at the Sikorsky headquarters in Stratford, CT. Also, click here to check out the News 12 report of the event.

Nora Nora
Nora Heaphy with her grand prize check with Susan Hitchcock (Manager of Community Affairs, Sikorsky) and Norm Goldstein (CEO & Founder, By Kids For Kids, Co.) Larry Levine (Manager Advanced Engineering Applications, Sikorsky), Jill Kelly (Nora's mother), Leon Tynes (high school technology teacher at ESUMS - Engineering & Science University Magnet School), Nora Heaphy (grand prize winner), Norm Goldstein (CEO & Founder, By Kids For Kids, Co.), and Susan Hitchcock (Manager of Community Affairs, Sikorsky)


Willy T., Age 16; Idea: S-150 Penguin Oak

My helicopter is going to be a multipurpose platform that welcomes many modifications while being environmentally friendly. The helicopter will be shaped like an oblong cigar. This shape is not only potentially aerodynamic, but it is also compact and robust. The helicopter will have folding wings that can swing to change speed (very similar to the F-14 Tomcat); the wings themselves will have ports that allow for the attachment of equipment that can range from missiles, to tanks of fire retardant, or even devices that convert atmospheric materials into chemical potential energy. This helicopter will be environmentally friendly because it uses a battery as its power source instead of gasoline or other environmentally detrimental fuels.

Mark L., Age 9; Idea: Solar Fly

Solar Fly is an electric helicopter that flies to the remote areas and acts as a generator to provide power where it is needed the most. It uses solar panels to harvest energy from the sun and to give this energy where it is needed and as long as it is needed. Electric motor also reduces the complexity of the helicopter, cutting down on the number of components and reducing maintenance costs. My helicopter will be made of composite materials. They are resistant to corrosion (this prolongs the life of the helicopter), reduce the drag, making it easier to fly, and make the helicopter about 25% lighter for better performance an energy conservation.

Thomas A., Age 16; Idea: TA01-Harpy

With a pair of rear mounted wings, the TA01 resembles an airplane. However, instead of jet engines, one large propeller is mounted inside each of its wings. Because of its design, the TA01 is capable of undertaking a variety of tasks. The lack of a large top mounted propeller combined with maneuverable hovering opens up locations inaccessible to planes and other helicopters placing rescue and exploration missions well within this aircraft's abilities. The TA01 uses magnetic propulsion to generate lift in its main two rotors. Environmental Impact The TA01's aerodynamic flight patterns (referenced in appearance) combined with its use of magnets and a fuel cell for lift and power emits no eco-harmful waste products.

Sikorsky Udayketan M., Age 14; Idea: U-H1 Plumes

My helicopter, The U-H1 has a smooth, blended design, that is inspired by the bodies of birds, to help with its aerodynamics. The U-H1 can used for various tasks, essentially making it a multi purpose helicopter. My helicopter will be sustainable because it will be fueled by hydrogen fuel cells and has a body made from carbon composites. Since current prototypes of helicopters that use hydrogen fuel cells have considerably larger, expensive fuel cells, my helicopter is an improvement upon them since it tackles the problem of large and expensive fuel cells, using an unique storage unit made from carbonized chicken feathers.

Facilitator Program
Helicopter 2050 Challenge