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  • Then There Were Three - News From Green Flight
    Posted by Graham Warwick 7:58 PM on Sep 28, 2011

    Speaking from California's Sonoma County Airport, site of the Green Flight Challenge, Sam Ortega, NASA's program manager for Centennial Challenges, reveals only three of the original 13 registered teams are flying in the energy-efficiency competition.

    Of the five teams expected to show up, one - TeamFueling - dropped out because of last-minute problems with its electric-powered Rutan Quickie. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University was disqualified, meanwhile, because its hybrid-electric EcoEagle does not comply with a couple of the CAFE Foundation's rules for the Challenge.

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    EcoEagle (All photos: Bill Ingalls. NASA)

    Based on the Stemme S10 motorglider, the EcoEagle is a two-seater, but Embry Riddle regulations allow only one pilot in its aircraft, says Ortega. CAFE competition rules, however, require a two-seat aircraft to fly with two pilots for cockpit management. Additionally, CAFE required contestants to carry a ballistic recovery parachute and the EcoEagle doesn't have the attachment points, he says.

    Embry Riddle is continuing to compete in exhibition status - which means it can gather data to see how energy-efficient the EcoEagle is, but it can't win the $1.3 million prize for acheiving at least 200 passenger-mpg while averaging more than 100mph over a 200-mile distance.

    The three qualifying competitors, then, are: Phoenix Air of the Czech Republic, with its Phoenix motor glider (but the basic gasoline-powered version, not the electric-powered PhoEnix); Slovenia's Pipistrel Aircraft, with the twin-fuselage, four-seat, electric-powered Taurus G4; and the University of Stuttgart's Airbus-sponsored, electric-powered e-Genius.

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    Taurus G4

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    Tags: awt, environment, propulsion, NASA

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