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NASA Green Aircraft Challenge

by John M. White |

he NASA Innovative Partnerships Program and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation have announced the Green Flight Challenge, which is a flight efficiency competition for aircraft that can average at least 100 mph on a 200-mile flight while achieving greater than 200 passenger miles per gallon. electricacft The idea is to examine the possibility of meeting all three of present day climate challenges: efficiency, conservation and zero-carbon energy sources. While initially a skeptic I find myself more and more fascinated about the possibilities of aircraft that will achieve what was thought impossible just a short time ago. Electric aircraft are attempting around the world flights using only solar energy powering solar panels which in turn power electric motors. Clearly there is an ongoing attempt to figure out ways to use electricity to power all kinds of transportation from cars to airplanes and everything in between. The thing I wonder about is where will all the electricity come from? We can't use coal or nuclear energy but no one wants windmills in their backyards. Just look at Ted Kennedy vetoing windmills out in Nantucket Bay because it would "ruin the view". Perhaps squirrels on a treadmill? No, PETA would get upset about that. Hey, how about using the gas from cows to power gas turbines to generate electricity? Imagining how that would work makes me shake my head. Actually, a better solution will be as we build more solar energy homes to generate our own electrical power. After all, using solar radiation from the sun has no effect on the environment, is free and will not run out anytime soon. Live where there is not enough sun? How about home wind energy? Again, the wind is free, and with just a little ingenuity we can generate more than enough electricity to power our home AND our car! Oh well, someone will figure it out, right? Oh, that's right - President Obama! Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 Aviation Dictionary Airspeed: Speed of an airplane. Deduct 25% when listening to a Navy pilot. Bank: The folks who hold the lien on most pilots' cars.

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