Funding Unsuccessful This project’s funding goal was not reached on .

We believe we can hover a minute, set a World Aviation Record and just maybe win the Sikorsky Prize

Set A World Record

I have the World Aviation Record for the first successful human powered helicopter in 1989.  The flight was 8 seconds and rose 8 inches off the ground. It was the first time in history that a human had ever lifted themselves straight up and hovered.

Now I've spent the last 10 years and around $80,000 designing and building a new helicopter that will hover for a minute and set a new World Aviation Record.  If it can also get 3 meters in the air, we'll also win the Sikorsky Prize and $250,000.  We named the new helicopter Upturn since it was built during the great recession.  The NTS Works web site has more pictures of the first test, but we are not ready to release details about all the innovations we've made since then.

This gigantic flying machine is 85 feet in diameter, but weighs only 95 pounds. It barely fits in a basketball gym with the rotor tips mere feet from the walls.  The huge blades spin so slowly that it takes 6 seconds to spin around just once.  It is silent, sublime and graceful art that floats in the air.

We have a dedicated crew of 14 volunteers who have each donated hundreds of hours to help build and test Upturn.  Four of the people were on the original team that set the 1989 World Record.  I have devoted over 6,000 hours developing human powered helicopters.  We are all doing this for aviation history, not the money.

Lose More Weight And Fly!

So far we've managed to hop off the ground, but we'll need to shed about 15 pounds in order to hover for a minute.  Any flight over 20 seconds will be a World Record, but our goal is a minute.  We are close to success, but we need a small amount of additional funding to take off (literally).

We have to replace some of the heavier parts of the helicopter.  These ultra lightweight parts are made from titanium, aircraft aluminum and carbon fiber.  They will be a lot lighter, but they will also cost a lot more.  We also need funding for the final flight tests.  We need a world class professional cyclist and a larger indoor public facility to fly in.  Our Kickstarter goal of $15k is modest because I'll personally cover the shortfall.  Additional funds over our goal will be used to make the helicopter even lighter.  All funds will be used for parts, materials and expenses.  Let's find out how light a helicopter can get.

My dream is to have the helicopter in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.  They have indicated that they are waiting for the helicopter that wins the Sikorsky Prize.

I personally will not quit until we break a world record!


Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

Ask a question
pledged of $15,000 goal
seconds to go

See full bio

  • Pledge $15 or more
    You selected

    10 backers

    Exclusive access to flight test footage. Not just the sucessful flights, but the crashes too.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $25 or more
    You selected

    12 backers

    DVD of the design, building and flying of Upturn. Add $5 for international shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $35 or more
    You selected

    11 backers

    T-shirt with our custom Upturn human powered helicopter logo. Mens or womens. Email us your size. Add $10 for international shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $100 or more
    You selected

    8 backers

    Scale model of Upturn. Suitable for display or educational purposes. Add $10 for international shipping.

    Estimated delivery:
  • Pledge $200 or more
    You selected

    14 backers

    Your name on the helicopter as a major supporter. I hope (can't promise) that Upturn will end up in the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum.

    Estimated delivery:
Funding period

- (30 days)