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Last updated at 15:24 BST, Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Bicycle-powered helicopter


Report and vocabulary


This contraption may not look very impressive...

But when the bicycle-powered helicopter defied gravity, it caused great excitement.

Its flight only lasted 64 seconds and reached an altitude of 3.3 metres. Though it was a great achievement for the Canadian team, which spent 18 months designing the chopper.

They won a prize worth $250,000 from the American Helicopter Society.

The team hope to inspire the next generation of aviation pioneers.


machine that looks strange or old-fashioned

defied gravity



height above sea level


informal word for helicopter


people who are the first ones to do something


Use one of the words or phrases below to complete each of these sentences from news reports.
Note that you may have to change the form of a word to complete the sentence correctly.
contraption / defied gravity / altitude / chopper / pioneers

1. About 200 firefighters are continuing to fight the Arizona wildfire - started by a lightning strike - and more crews are on their way. They will include helicopters and other aircraft, which can drop thousands of litres of water or fire-retardant chemicals from low __________.

2. Now, one of the original lunar __________ believes the time has come to make another great leap for mankind. Buzz Aldrin thinks that manned missions to Mars should take place sooner rather than later - within the next quarter of a century.

3. Hawking will test at least one of those laws on Thursday, when he plans to __________ - for a moment anyway - by floating during one or more parabolic manoeuvres aboard a specially modified Boeing 727. The plane, operated by Florida-based Zero Gravity Corporation, will take off and land from the space shuttle's runway at the Kennedy Space Center.

4. Then another __________ took off. This one I recognized as a French army Puma. Then another military helicopter was in the sky - I'm not sure what make - then another.

5. As with its smaller counterparts, the print head moves firstly horizontally and then vertically building up salami slices of the 3D object. The enormous __________ will be able to fabricate individual life-sized rooms in one print session.




How did you do?






defy gravity





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