Despite a strong influx of applications, Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) officials have decided to postpone the $60,000 Electric Flight Prize until next year’s AirVenture. This will allow “viable candidates to complete Phase I flight certification according to FAA regulations,” according to officials.
Aircraft designers and innovators submitted nearly a dozen entries into the $60,000 Electric Flight Prize, which is designed to elevate the accomplishments and viability of flight powered exclusively by electricity through three flight competitions and an innovation evaluation.
The Electric Flight Prize, sponsored by AeroLEDs, Aircraft Spruce & Specialty, Dynon Avionics, and Wicks Aircraft Supply, was scheduled to be held during EAA AirVenture 2011, July 25-31 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh.
Phase I is the normal, designated period in which the pilot completes 40 hours of flight testing, certifying that the aircraft is controllable throughout its normal range of speeds and throughout all maneuvers to be executed. Additionally, the pilot certifies that the aircraft has no hazardous operating characteristics or design features, and is safe for operation. Completing this test period and properly documenting its success is a normal process for every new amateur-built aircraft.
“As with any new, emerging technology, time is an essential element to ensure advancements are made effectively,” said Tom Poberezny, EAA and AirVenture chairman. “After discussions with the prize candidates, it was evident most would not be able to meet the FAA requirement by AirVenture 2011. By staging the Electric Flight Prize at AirVenture 2012, innovators will be able to secure necessary certification and build on their advancements, resulting in a strong field of viable candidates ready to make the future of aviation a reality.”
Even without the Electric Flight Prize, the latest electric aircraft innovations will be showcased at AirVenture 2011. Showcase flights from select aircraft will take place on dates to be announced, plus a full schedule of forums and displays at the EAA Innovation Center will highlight the advances and future promise of electric aircraft as this “green” technology begins to secure a place in tomorrow’s aviation world.
The second annual World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, set for July 29-30, will feature several influential industry leaders discussing electric propulsion aircraft in an open forum, offering what they envision is the future for this rapidly growing flight segment that is attracting the attention of scientists, engineers, manufacturers, and investors.