Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Building towards a supersonic Electric Aeroplane

The eGenius electric aircraft recently participated in the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Green Flight Challenge. It was sponsored by Google, at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif. on Monday, Sept. 26, 2011. NASA and CAFE Foundation have the goal to advance technologies in fuel efficiency and reduced emissions with cleaner renewable fuels and electric aircraft.

The Green Flight Challenge had 13 teams competing for the $1.65 million prize provided by NASA. This is the largest purse for any aviation event in history. In order to win the prize teams needed their  aircraft must fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity.

In the end only three teams successfully completed the aircraft and flight qualification requirements. The winner was team Pipistrel-USA.com, a four seater electric aircraft called the Taurus 4, with an almost unbelievable 403.5 passenger miles per gallon efficiency over a flight distance of 200miles. Twice that of the already efficient piston powered aircraft in the same competition.

The e-Genius team won the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP) for the quietest aircraft with a peak take off noise of just 59.5 dBA (A normal conversation ranges between 80-85 dBA). This brings the potential capability of having aircraft quiet enough to land near houses and businesses without the noise aggravation. Good news for those living and working near airports.

Some other interesting facts from the Green Flight Challenge:
  • There were 20 exhibitors showing off their visions of the greener aviation future
  •  Pipistrel G-4 achieved 403.5 PMPG over its 200 mile flight
  • The eGenius achieved 375.8 PMPG
  • The winning check for $1.3 million is the equivalent to a Nobel prize winner (1 million Euros)
  • The G-4 could be charged for a two-hour flight at a cost of $7. (based on 8c for a KW)
  • Receiving their electricity from geo-thermal powered generators on nearby peaks in the Geyserville area, CAFE’s fliers flew “green”
  • A future challenge is now to create a supersonic Electric aircraft.
The Green Flight challenge 2011 has heralded a new change in aviation history. The future technology of aviation was most likely born at this event.
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