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Foundation for Advancement of

Education and Research

G5, Swiss Complex, 33, Race Course Road, Bangalore- 560001
E-mail:, Website:
FAER - McAfee

Proposal Format
1. Name of the Students : (a) Ms. Deborah Joseph
(b) Mr. Kaushik Changmai
(c) Mr. MD Akil Ahmed

Degree registered : B.E

Branch : Aeronautical Engineering
Year : Final year
Address (residential) : NH- 47, Salem Main Road, Pallakapalayam
Sankari West Post- 637303
Komarapalayam Tk.,
Namakkal Dt., Tamil Nadu

E-mail address : (a)

Phone / Cell no : (a) 7094673065
(b) 8402905935
(c) 9003548659
Address of the College
(including pin code) : Excel Engineering College,
NH-544, Salem Main Road,
Sankari West Post,
Namakkal (Dt.),
Tamil Nadu- 637303
Web site of the college :
Phone No : 04288-227361 to 67

Name of the Supervisor / : Dr. G. Manikandan

Project Guide with E-mail
Address & Phone Nuumber 9994101429
Whether the students belong : No
to SC / ST

Title of the Project : Human Powered Flying Vehicle

Area : Engineering and Technology
Relevance to the area
of the contest (Explain) : Annexure I

Type of project : Concepts/ Experimental/ Technology dept.,/

(Tick one) Application/ Computer based/ Product

Objective of your project : Annexure I

Brief description : Annexure I

Unique features of the project : The vehicle will fly depending only upon the forces
exerted by the pilot (pedaling) without the aid of
an engine or any propulsive device.

Existing Approaches : Annexure II

What is new in the project : Annexure III

How is this proposal

different from existing approaches
based on

 Originally : Flying mechanism based on direct musculature

 Performance : Easy operation
 Costs/ benefits : Smaller size

References (literature) : Annexure V

Approach to solving the problem : Annexure III
(implementation details)
 Modeling : Enclosed
 Construction /experiments : Enclosed
/ programming Testing
 Results : Enclosed
 System integration issues : Enclosed
Support infrastructure required :

Likely problems that may be encountered : NIL

Reasons why this proposal should be considered

for selection : Eco-friendly (no pollution).

Budget estimates : Annexure IV

1. Declaration

We will take up this project if selected, for FAER Scholar Project only and will not submit
this to any other contest.

Signature of Students

Signature of Project Advisor / Project Guide

Signature of Principal

Annexure I

Brief description and objectives of the project

The basic concept of the project is to materialize the idea of a flying vehicle that is
powered only by human force and no other propulsive device (such as engine) is used. By the use
of pedals, the effort put in by the pilot is transmitted to the wings that provide the force required
for the upward and forward motion of the vehicle. To start off the project, miniature models of the
various insects whose flying mechanisms would be adapted for the project will be made with the
aid of microprocessors. The mechanism that is apt to fulfill the all requirements would then be
used for the final project.

The major objectives of the project are as follows-

1. To design a human powered flying vehicle inspired by the tiny insects of our
2. To make it useful for disaster management and to provide first aids in case of emergencies.
3. To enable easy human flight.
4. To enable easier transportation.
5. To avoid accidents caused due to excess traffic on the roads.
6. To provide a pollution free mode of transportation.
Annexure II

Background and justification

There are five successful existing models of ‘Human Powered Helicopter’. Da Vinci
III was developed in 1989 in the California Polytechnic State University; it flew for 7.1
seconds and reached a height of 20 cm on December 10, 1989. Yuri I was built by the
Nihon Aero Student Group in 1994. It achieved a height of 20 cm for 19.46 seconds.

At the University of Maryland team Gamera was formed in the year 2008 to explore
the possibilities of a Human Powered Helicopter. In the year 2015 they set a record of
flight duration of 97.5 seconds. One of the most significant parts of Gamera is the addition
of hand cranks along with the more conventional foot cranks. This increases the amount of
energy not by extending the duration of input (like in other human powered vehicles) but
by engaging more muscle mass. The rotor momentum was used to get the first order
estimate of what the ratio of pilot weight to vehicle weight should be for minimum pilot
specific power required. The obtained value was,

WP/WV= 2

The winch drive transmission concept was adapted by this model. This system transmits
power from the cockpit to the rotors by the spooling of four high strength Spectra cords. A
single cord is wrapped around each of the four rotor-side pulleys which are mounted to the
rotor shafts. Enough string is used to allow the desired flight time, amounting to over 150
m (500 ft) for a full 60 seconds. When the pilot pedals and turns the hand cranks—which
deliver power to the feet by means of a synchronous chain—the pilot side pulley spools in
all four cords. Torque is transferred to the four rotors as the cords are spooled in by the
pilot. The cords are directed into the cockpit from the main airframe structure by a series of
lightweight redirecting pulleys. A flywheel is added which is sized with enough inertia to
smooth the pilot motion at full power output. Cockpit has been desgined to be both
comfortable to the pilot and stiff in structure. Adapting the filament-wound truss concept to
the load carrying members of the cockpit has allowed stiffness to be maximized while
maintaining low weight and without impacting the motion of the pilot. To increase the
stiffness in this critical area, the Gamera II cockpit is built around a 3D box truss that
creates a rigid link between the bearings of the pilot hand and foot cranks. From this core
structure, several 3D truss members form the rest of the cockpit, connecting the
transmission to the pilot seat and the main airframe. The connection to the airframe
consists of three clevis fasteners, allowing the cockpit to be removed for transportation.
The cockpit features several attachment points for guy lines which extend outboard and
connect to the airframe structure. These wires add support against lateral deflection,
reducing the energy wasted on undesired motion. Gamera II proved to be a huge success.

On 24 June 2012, Upturn was flown for 10 seconds up to around 2 ft. by the NTS
Works. Atlas became the fifth human powered helicopter to fly. It was developed by
AeroVelo, a start-up founded by University of Toronto. It flew up to 3.3 meters for 87
seconds. The final design of the Atlas is a quad-rotor design similar to the most successful
helicopters before, with each rotor 10 m in radius. Both the rotors and large but lightweight
overall truss structure make extensive use of wire-bracing, resulting in a more optimal
design. Atlas therefore has a substantial size advantage over the Gamera II, the current
record holder. In fact, per pilot mass the Atlas requires 25% less power for flight. In
addition, the Atlas’ pilot Todd has 15% more power output than any of Gamera’s pilots.
With the final weight known and the power requirement of Atlas experimentally
determined, our simulations show that not only the Sikorsky Prize, but unbelievable
duration of up to 4 minutes is possible! All these models function with the aid of rotors
such as in actual helicopters.

UTIAS Snowbird became the first ever human-powered ornithopter, it was built
as a project by University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. Since the first
design of human- powered ornithopter by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1485, various attempts
have been made to make a working model of the same. Snowbird set the record of 19.3
sec on 20 August, 2010. A total of 16 flaps were used on the run to maintain height. The
cruise speed was averaged to be 25.6 km/h with a range of 0.145 km and an endurance
of 19.3 sec. The Snowbird weighs just 94 lbs. and has a wing span of 32 meters (105
feet). Although its wingspan is comparable to that of a Boeing 737, the Snowbird weighs
less than all of the pillows on board. Pilot Reichert lost 18 lbs. of body weight this past
summer to facilitate flying the aircraft.
Annexure III


Nature has always been an inspiration to mankind to discover what science and
technology could do. The strife to bring to life a human powered flying vehicle has been
continuing since the very first sketch drawn by Leonardo Da Vinci back in 1485. From
1989 incessant efforts have been made to explore further, invent and to improve the
existing models of the Human-Powered Vehicles. Da Vinci III, Yuri I, Gamera, Up-turn
and Atlas are all Human-Powered Helicopters that basically follow the mechanism of
choppers, i.e., the rotating blades to generate the required forces. In 2010, Snowbird was
brought to action with flapping wings thus becoming the first successful Human-Powered
The major objective of this particular project is to mimic the flight of an insect.
Insects dominate the flying world not just because of their efficient flight but also due to
the complex flight mechanism that varies from insect to insect. The most primitive flying
insects are dragonfly, damselfly and mayfly and they have what is called, ‘Direct
Musculature’ or ‘Direct Flight Muscles’ while the advanced flying insects possess
‘Indirect Flight Muscles.’ In both these cases, Indirect Dorso-Ventral Muscles produce the
up-stroke but in the primitive orders, muscles are attached directly to the base of the wing
to produce the down-stroke; however in advanced flying insects, both the up-stroke and
down-stroke are produced by indirect muscles through distortion of the thoracic cuticle.
The insect asynchronous flight muscles have the property of being stretch-activated i.e.,
when they stretch, they contract. When the pivot point of the wing is pulled down, it gives
the up-stoke and when it is pushed up it gives the down-stroke. The muscles that cause the
up-storke are called the vertical muscles, when these muscles contract or shorten then two
actions occur simultaneously; one, these muscles bulge out and they pull down on the
wing causing the up-stroke. When these muscles are shortened, they stop contracting and
this bulges the body of the insect. The other set of muscles are called the horizontal
muscles that run the length of the body of the insect. When these muscles contract or
shorten because the horizontal body of the insect to shorten or bulge out which causes the
top part of the insect body to push up. This upward movement not only pushes the top of
the body up but also the base of the wings.

Figure 1 The Direct Musculature of a Dragonfly’s Wing

Figure 2 The Wing Movement of a Dragonfly

This movement causes the wings to have a down-stroke. When the vertical muscles
contract they generate the up-stroke and when these relax, the horizontal muscles contract
to generate the down-stroke. This is how an indirect musculature works. But, in the case
of dragonfly the muscles are directly attached to the wings and each movement of the
wing is cause by the corresponding movement in the muscles. Their muscles pull directly
on the wing and are able to operate each wing independently in both directions. This is
why they dominate the insect flying world. The front and hind wings move independently
and there is a phase difference in the movement of the two pairs, i.e., when one pair is
moving up the other pair is moving down. This gives 20% more efficiency in flight
compared to just two wings. Dragonfly wings have a spot named Pterostigma on the
leading edge of the wing which is actually heavier than the rest of the wing. This complex
aerodynamic structure is built right into the wing of a dragonfly to help hem glide.
Similarly all the flying insects have some detailed difference from each other in the
motion of flight. For this project a detailed study will be done on the various flight
mechanisms and on the diverse wing structure of various insects, then the same would be
adapted to build the structure of the Human-Powered Flying vehicle. For determining the
best flight mechanism for the vehicle, various miniature models would first be made based
on different mechanism of the insect world to test the efficiency and suitability according
to the requirement of the model.

Figure 3 The Wing Movement of a Dragonfly

Figure 4 The Head Structure of a Dragonfly

Figure 5 Dodecahedral Shape for the Model’s Body Structure

The vehicle is entirely modeled keeping the shape of the dragonfly’s body in mind.
To ensure that the surface of the main body would be capable to hold up the weight of the
pilot and the wings attached to it along with the additional components, the dodecahedral
shape will be adopted. The wings will be modeled by mimicking that of the dragonfly by
scaling it up to the dimensions required according to the size of the main body. The vehicle
will be designed using software such as CAD, CATIA and ANSYS CFD.


Figure 6 Side View and Top View of the model

Depending upon the analysis results obtained from the softwares, the sacle and
dimensions of the model will be calculated. Multiple ‘Sandwhich panels’ will be used for
constructing the main body of the vehicle. The wings would be made of flexible materials
that would enable the flaping to be the mimicking action of that of a dragonfly. This action
would be controlled by the pilot through pedalling using both the hands and legs. To
increase the force exeted by the pilot to an extent that will propel the vehicle actuators will
be used. Electrical compoenents will be used too make the function of the vehicle more

Budget of the Project

Grants (in rupees) 1-4 months 4-8 months 8-12 months

(a) Research staff - - -

(b) Special Equipment - 4,45,000 -

(c) Consumable stores, 5000 10,000 5,000

(d) chemicals, etc. 1000 1500 3000

- 25,000 -
(e) Contingencies

(f) TA/DA - 50,000 -

- - -
(g) Others (Pl. specify)

Total 6000 5,31,500 8000

Grand Total 5,45,500

Annexure V


[1] Flight Mechanics of a dragonfly. Institute of Interdisciplinary Research, Faculty of Engineering, The University
of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan .
[2] Design and Development of ATLAS Human- Powered Helicopter. AeroVelo Inc. Toronto, ON, Canada
[3] Human Powered Helicopter: A program for Design and Construction ,Scott Alan Bruce, June. 1991
[4] Aspects of Flight Mechanics in Anisopterous Dragonflie, A.C Neville, Zoology Department, Imperial College,
London and Zoophysiological Department, University of Copenhagen, Denmak.
[5] Design Optimization of Gamera II: A Human Powered Helicopter. Alfred Gessow Rotorcraft Center,
Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Maryland, College Park.
[6] Structural Analysis of a Dragonfly Wings Experimental Mechanics, Volume 50, Issue 9
[7]; Architecture of a Dragonfly Wing
[8]; Investigating the Secrets of a Dragonfly Wing
[9]; Animal Flight: Wing Structures and Wingbeat
[10]; Dragonfly Vortex Formation during Flight.

This is to certify that Ms. DEBORAH JOSEPH, Mr. KAUSHIK CHANGMAI, Mr. MD AKIL
AHMED, are bonafide students of final year B.E Aeronautical Engineering of our college. If the
proposal is selected by FAER, we will provide the requisite laboratory/computer support in our college.

Date: Signature of Principal

Seal of the institution