Feeds

NASA announces $1.5m prize for eco-plane inventors

Flying machines go green diddly green green

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

US space agency NASA has announced a competition for green aircraft designers, in which low-carbon flying machines will contend for a $1.5m prize at a contest to be held in California in two years' time.

The Taurus Electro battery motor-glider from Pipistrel

You didn't want that flying car, did you? Have an electric plane (well, glider) instead.

The compo is to be run by NASA's usual light-aircraft collaborator organisation, the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation. It will be known as the CAFE Green Flight Challenge (CGFC), and competing aircraft will be assessed in flight trials to take place at the Charles M Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California, in July 2011.

CAFE and NASA were formerly involved in attempts to develop so-called Personal Air Vehicles (PAVs), basically the closest approach to flying cars that might be realistically achievable. A fully-developed PAV wouldn't be a Jetsons aircar: rather it would be a normal light plane with several important enhancements. These would include cheapness, quiet operation, short takeoff run, perhaps the ability to fold wings and drive on roads, and an almost hands-off autopilot/air-traffic system allowing the PAV to be flown by people with no more training than car drivers.

NASA even had its own PAV programme until 2005, but then funds were cut and the idea was downgraded to a competition run by CAFE with NASA supplying modest $250k prize money. This wasn't enough for anyone to do any serious development work, and the PAV competition attracted nothing more than some mildly-tweaked motor-gliders, old Cessnas and the like.

But the notion of flying cars has been thoroughly eclipsed in the popular mind by the concept of green low-carbon ones - as witness the now almost constant flow of electric car coverage in the tech press. Last year the PAV contest changed into a General Aviation Technology Challenge, with a Green Prize.

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
TRIANGULAR orbits will help Rosetta to get up close with Comet 67P
Probe will be just 10km from Space Duck in October
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.