Electric Plane Wins $1.35M Prize!

Electric Plane Wins $1.35M Prize!

NASA just awarded a $1.35 million prize to a Pennsylvania company and thier Taurus G4, an all-electric full-size airplane that can fly 200 miles in less than 2 hours, on a gallon (or less) of fuel or equivalent electric power! Check out this neat news story from Today In Tech’s Mike Krumboltz:

NASA has awarded a Pennsylvania company a $1.35 million prize for developing an ultra-efficient electric airplane. The Taurus G4 airplane won the prize by flying 200 miles from Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif., in less than two hours.

CNN reports that the airplane was created by Pipistrel-USA.com of State College. There were 14 airplanes in the competition, but the Pipistrel won easily. It nearly “doubled the fuel-efficiency requirement” for the contest.

The requirements were to fly 200 miles in two hours or less on less than a gallon of fuel (or the equivalent in electricity) for each passenger. The Pipistrel airplane used a bit more than a half-gallon of gas for each passenger. Most of the airplanes in the contest used electric engines, however, some entrants were powered by gasoline or biofuel.

Team leader Jack W. Langelaan said, “Two years ago the thought of flying 200 miles at 100 mph in an electric aircraft was pure science fiction. Now, we are all looking forward to the future of electric aviation.”

Among the 14 airplanes competing, only three met the requirements for the competition, according to the Press-Democrat of Santa Rosa. The $1.35 million award is the largest in the history of aviation. All told, the competing teams invested more than $4 million in their airplanes.

Wired Magazine reports that the winning airplane “was developed and built in Slovenia as a technology demonstrator for the airplane maker.” And while the company has no plans to mass-produce the airplane, it “does plan on using the liquid-cooled electric powertrain in a four-seat airplane it is developing and hopes to fly next year.”

Updated: October 5, 2011 — 2:40 PM


  1. Dear author,
    while you barely mention Slovenia in your news story, here are some facts.
    The winning airplane was developed and built in Slovenia.
    Company Pipistrel is from Ajdovščina, Slovenia.
    The man behind this fantastic achievement is Slovenian Ivo Boscarol (founder, CEO and owner of Pipistrel) with his Slovenian team.
    The second place was claimed by the team E-genius of the University in Stuttgart, Germany. Pipistrel has been team E-Genius’s development partner. Their aircraft is actually a modified Pipistrel Taurus (wings and fuselage) with a specially developed tail section and an electric propulsion system in the tail. The electric motor was designed and manufactured especially for the e-Genius by the Slovenian (yes, again) company Sineton.
    Greetings from Slovenia!
    Niels Udir

  2. Oct. 10th.2011

    I would Love to know of any blogs that current RC enthusiast hang out at?

    I am presently putting together a series of clubs to encourage Kids, youth, and aboriginals to choose healthier choices in life instead of getting into the habit of following those they think they can call friends but are really only acquaintances that just don’t care about their health choices.

    My questions I will ask will be that of possible grants and are there any donated RC models to enable them to be active in participating in one of most FUN hobbies I know of that exercises so many parts of the brain.

    I have a program called “The Missing Link”
    It involves teaching them about the power each choice has in shaping the brain which tells each of us what to do in our daily lives. Learning about the brain accentuates this fact crystal clear.

    Showing them the world of RC Models is part of the demonstrating way to show kids, youth and aboriginals the importance of each choice made in life shapes the brain. This sport or hobby rarely encourages drinking let alone drugs if any at all. I LOVE it1!!

    I study neurobiological trigger mechanisms of the brain as associated with the toxicity of street drugs and drinking. I am also an announcer at World Championship Cycling Races and Provincial Championships. Kids are always there ….

    I wish to include the world of RC Model Airplanes in FULL force. Validating each talented RC Model controller is a way to not only encourage the sport of flying RC but also talents will be validated by helping those who do not know yet how much FUN they truly are missing. Everyone will get to know each other intimately and a bond constructed by all.

    I hope to hear from those of you out there who have been touched like I have by the wide open glittering eyes of a child (let alone adult ha ha) when watching what can be done with some practice, effort and patience.

    Life is like that also.

    RC Model flying can teach much!

    Larry Melnik (AKA CraZy Larry)
    Canada’s Meet You at the Top Clubs

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