In December of last year the National Air and Space Administration, in conjunction with CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) have announced the largest ever technology prize for General Aviation.
The official name for the flight competition is the General Aviation Technology Challenge, and with a $ 300,000 prize funded by NASA, will include the first ever "Green Prize" for transportation. The prize will be based upon five categories:
- The Community Noise Prize of $ 150,000;
- The Green Prize of $ 50,000 for best Miles Per Gallon fuel efficiency;
- The Aviation Safety Prize of $ 50,000 for aircraft handling and training;
- The CAFE 400 Prize of $ 25,000 for speed;
- The Quietest Light Sport Aircraft Prize of $ 10,000.
The focus of this effort will include improvements in aircraft engines to use motor gas instead of 100LL, with motivation for the change due to the rising cost of avgas. The challenges are getting the STC's approved and the availability of these fuels at airports.
The use of new composite materials may offer lighter weight aircraft which will help with fuel efficiency combined with designs having more efficient wing designs and fuselage designs with less drag coefficients.
The "Green Prize" will be based upon the greatest number of miles per gallon achieved in a general aviation aircraft.
It is interesting to note that Al Gore recently called for the elimination of all fossil fuel usage within ten years - I wonder how he will fly his GII around the world giving speeches on conservation and climate change when there is no longer jet fuel available. Will he power his aircraft with solar panels and electricity? I can hardly wait to find out what he plans to power his jet with!!
In the meantime keep your wings straight and level Hersch!