So you are in holiday mode, probably lounging down at the beach or by a big open fire with the snow falling outside, depending on where you live. There’s nothing on TV and you have read all the books of interest, so now what? Well, if you fancy yourself as an artist, you might like to enter a competition to design the livery for the first of the new Pipistrel Panthera aircraft and stand to take home 1,000 euro (approx. US$1,290). You have until January 10, 2012.
European ultralight aircraft manufacturer Pipistrel has taken note of the ever increasing prices being quoted for entry-level Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) and has done something about it. Enter the ALPHA Trainer. Its 34-foot 6-inch wingspan, reliable Rotax 4-cylinder, 4-stroke engine and rugged landing gear makes it suitable for flight training, and its 108 knot (200 km/h) cruising speed is right up there with most of the fast boys.
Two years ago, aircraft designers were invited to build an electric airplane that could fly at least 200 miles (322 km) in under two hours, using less than one gallon (3.8 liters) of fuel per occupant – or the electrical equivalent. Whichever plane performed best would win its makers a prize of US$1.35 million. That was the idea behind the Green Flight Challenge
, a NASA competition that was managed by the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation, and funded by Google
. Well, the challenge wrapped up last week, with the winners being announced this Monday. Pennsylvania’s Pipistrel-USA team took first place, for its Taurus G4.
As we've seen with the ongoing X-Prize
model, competitions can be a great way to provide incentive for technological advancements in transport. While the latest example, the Lunar X Prize, has its sight set on the heavens, NASA is running a competition with objectives a little closer to the ground. The Green Flight Challenge is enticing creative types with a USD$1.5 million prize in which designers need to create an aircraft that is low cost, quiet, has a short take-off, is 'road worthy' and gets excellent passenger-miles per gallon.