Three flight competitions and an electric aircraft innovation award will showcase electric flight during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011. Cash prizes totaling $60,000 will be awarded to winners in each category, as well as an Overall Electric Flight Competition. Prizes and support for the competition come courtesy of four companies that are active in the sport aviation community: Wicks Aircraft Supply, Dynon Avionics, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, and AeroLEDs, according to EAA officials.
The first competition will test which aircraft can be kept aloft for the longest period of time. Second is the time-to-climb contest, which will use Dynon measuring equipment. The third and final competition will be to measure the maximum speed of each aircraft.
The innovation evaluation will be conducted by representatives of the four sponsoring companies, who will reach a consensus on the top three developments in electric flight based on battery, motor, controller, and airframe.
Each activity will be scored and plaques will be awarded to aircraft placing first, second, and third in each category. The first place winners in endurance, time-to-climb, maximum speed, and innovation will each receive $10,000. The winner of the “Overall Electric Flight Competition,” based on the highest cumulative score, will get a check for $20,000. It may not be necessary to place first in each event to win the Overall Electric Flight Competition category, EAA officials note.
“There has been considerable interest in electric flight over the past year, and we are all interested to see the state-of-the-art technology in real-world applications,” said EAA President Rod Hightower. “The Electric Flight Prize should provide us a baseline of how far the innovation has evolved, and likely give us an idea of where it may go next. In any case, the Electric Flight Prize will raise public awareness and interest in electric flight. EAA is very excited to show the world what’s possible and proud to be the ‘home’ of electric flight.”
The competitions are open to anyone with an electric-powered aircraft that has flown at least 40 hours and has an airworthiness certificate. A complete set of rules will be available on the EAA website in the coming weeks.