Google has thrown its considerable weight behind the Green Flight Challenge, a competition aimed at spurring the development of energy efficient personal aircraft. NASA has already put up $1.65 million in prize money for the the competition and the minimum qualification is a top speed of at least 100 mph and overall energy efficiency of at least the equivalent of 200 passenger miles per gallon.
The competition will be held Sept. 25-Oct.3 at Charles M. Shultz Airport in Sonoma, California but the Google Green Flight Challenge Exposition, hosted by NASA, at Moffet Field on Oct. 3 where the competing aircraft and related technologies will be on display. The aircraft will compete on a closed course and scored on their performance.
There are 13 teams vying for the prize money and propulsion systems include hybrids, bio-fuel and hydrogen. By far the most popular pick is pure electric, however, and Google is helping out with that. It’s sponsoring the first “emissions-free” charging station for the aircraft by sourcing electricity from a geothermal generating station. Erik Lindbergh is presenting the prize for the quietest aircraft in the competition.