STRATFORD, Conn., July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Sikorsky Aircraft, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX), has launched the 2013 Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Challenge, a national competition that invites youths ages 9-16 to envision a helicopter capable of addressing global issues likely to be encountered by mid century.
Winner of the grand prize — the Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award — will receive a $1,000 scholarship check, meet with Sikorsky rotorcraft engineers, and receive an expenses-paid tour of the BLACK HAWK and SEAHAWK ® helicopter assembly lines at Sikorsky's Stratford, Conn., headquarters.
"We're challenging kids across the U.S. to think globally about their future and how they can make a difference," said Judy Bankowski, Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Sikorsky. "This year's objective is to design a helicopter that can have far-reaching positive impact for our planet and its inhabitants."Sikorsky is sponsoring the annual challenge for the third year with By Kids For Kids, a Connecticut-based organization whose educational content inspires kids to become successful inventors. The challenge honors company founder Igor Sikorsky who in 1939 led an engineering team that developed a vertical lift machine whose core design is still used in 95 percent of all helicopters flying today. Students can submit their entries for the Sikorsky Helicopter 2050 Challenge until Sept. 30, 2013, via www.helicopter2050.com. Entries will be judged on uniqueness of concept (50 percent of score), description of invention/idea (25 percent), and ability to help overcome a global challenge (25 percent). Tharon Trujillo, from Plumas Lake, Calif., was 15 years old in 2011 when he won the first-ever Igor Sikorsky Youth Innovator Award. He envisioned a small unmanned helicopter that could carry critical relief supplies and electrical power to the scene of a natural disaster or other catastrophic event. Last year's 16-year-old winner, Ethan Chu from South Bend, Ind., devised a compact, circular-shaped twin-engine helicopter that channeled engine exhaust along the rotor blades and body of the aircraft to provide a cushion of gas for additional lift. "Every year I am amazed at the level of knowledge and creativity that hundreds of students bring to their entries," said Bankowski. "We are very much looking forward to reviewing this year's submissions."