NASA and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation have teamed to award the largest technology prize ever offered for general aviation.
The organizations have recast the Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) challenge for 2008, renaming it the General Aviation Technology Challenge.
Several winners will share in the $300,000 prize purse, funded by NASA, including the first ever “Green Prize” for transportation.
NASA designed the challenge to create the next generation of GA aircraft, known as PAVs, which are intended to extend personal air travel to a much larger segment of the American population. NASA officials believe PAVs will create a less centralized system of air travel, predicting that up to 45% of all miles traveled in the future may be in PAVs. This will relieve congestion at metropolitan hub airports and the freeways that surround them, reduce the need to build new highways and save much of the 6.8 billion gallons of fuel wasted in surface gridlock each year, officials say.
Last year’s challenge awarded $250,000 to participants, who began the process of creating PAVs. Criteria that define PAVs include: vehicles that are quiet, safe, comfortable and reliable; can travel at 150-200 mph, flying above gridlock without traffic delays; as affordable as travel by car or airliners; near all-weather, on-demand travel enabled by synthetic vision; highly fuel efficient and able to use alternative fuels; and able to takeoff and land on short runways.
This year’s prizes include:
• The Community Noise Prize ($150,000);
• The Green Prize ($50,000) (MPG);
• The Aviation Safety Prize ($50,000);
• The CAFE 400 Prize ($25,000) (Speed); and
• The Quietest LSA Prize ($10,000).