Al Marsh

EAA electric airplane challenge delayed

June 23, 2011 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

It had been hoped to offer a $60,000 electric airplane challenge this year during EAA Airventure, but that has been delayed until AirVenture 2012. Most of the airplanes, except one, had not completed the required 40 hours of testing. Many of them fly only 20 or 30 minutes at a time. Here’s the EAA announcement:

“Despite a strong influx of applications, EAA announced today that the $60,000 Electric Flight Prize has been postponed until EAA AirVenture 2012 to allow viable candidates to complete Phase I flight certification according to Federal Aviation Administration regulations.

 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. Let’s be clear that the era of electric flight is drawing closer every day, and it will be showcased at Oshkosh.”

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