The Google-sponsored NASA Centennial Challenge Competition just awarded the largest aviation prize in history to Pipstrel USA of State College! The competition, better known as the Green Flight Challenge, awarded Pipstrel USA $1.35 million for flying over 200 miles on a single gallon of gas per occupant (or equivalent electricity) – in fact, Pipstrel USA and the second place team EGenius both doubled the fuel efficiency that the competition required.
“Two years ago the thought of flying 200 miles at 100 mph in an electric aircraft was pure science fiction,” said Pipstrel USA team leader, Jack W. Langelaan, in a statement. “Now, we are all looking forward to the future of electric aviation.” The competition had 14 entrants and collectively they spent over $4 million on the challenge. The second place prize of $120,000 was awarded to the eGenius team of Ramona, California.
Pipstrel USA’s winning aircraft is powered by a 145-kilowatt brushless electric motor, it has a twin blade propeller, a 75 foot wingspan and is capable of carrying four passengers. The competition took place at Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport and of the 14 competitors only three made it into the air. Team eGenius congratulated Pipstrel USA on their win, after the prize was awarded, Eric Raymond, team leader of eGenius said, “I’m proud that Pipistrel won. They’ve been a leader in getting these things into production, and the team really deserves it, and worked hard to win this prize.”