The 2011 CAFE Green Flight Challenge has a winner! NASA awarded a $1.35-million first place prize to team Pipistrel-USA of State College, PA. The team's electric Taurus G4 aircraft achieved the equivalency of more than 400 miles per gallon. The second place prize of $120,000 went to team eGenius, of Ramona, CA.
Fourteen teams originally registered for the competition. Three teams successfully met all requirements and competed in the skies over the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, CA. The competition, which was hellcat Moffett Field on October 3rd, was managed by the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation under an agreement with NASA.
The winning aircraft had to fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity. The first and second place teams, which were both electric-powered, achieved twice the fuel efficiency requirement of the competition, meaning they flew 200 miles using just over a half-gallon of fuel equivalent per passenger.
The competition marks the culmination of more than two years of aircraft design, development, and testing for the teams. It is the first time that full-scale electric aircraft have performed in competition.
Watch a test flight of the Taurus G4 below.