A Green Flight Challenge entrant, PC-Aero’s Elektra One, has won the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Vision Award at AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, becoming the latest winner of this important award for innovation in the pursuit of “green” aviation.
Past winners of the Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft include:
- Pipistrel: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Best Electric Aircraft
- LZ Design: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Best Electric Propulsion System
- Solar Impulse: 2011 Aero-Friedrichshafen Outstanding Achievement Award
- Yuneec International: 2010 AirVenture Best Electric Aircraft
- Sonex: 2010 AirVenture Best Electric Aircraft Subsystem
- Lange Aviation: 2010 AirVenture Individual Achievement Award
According to Erik Lindbergh, grandson of Charles Lindbergh and founder of LEAP, the organization’s, “Programs recognize, inspire and incentivize the innovation that drives our culture, economy and future. The LEAP Electric Flight Program is accelerating the development of the electric aircraft industry through a range of activities, from prizes to advocacy.”
This year’s award, “Focuses on innovation with a “vision” for integrated electric power for an aircraft and its supporting infrastructure. Having a complete plan for energy management is the key to widespread adoption of electric propulsion.”
PC-Aero’s winning vision is part of a grander plan, one that not only provides power to the airplanes housed in their solar hangar, but to the neighborhood at large.
As explained in LEAP’s award, “PC-Aero is the winner of the Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft Vision Award for their integration of Solar World’s solar technology into their Electra One aircraft and the supporting hanger. Their vision is for the energy from the rooftop solar cells to not only provide power to the aircraft but also the hangar itself and excess energy to feed back to the power grid.
“’This is an electrifying time,’ said Erik Lindbergh. ‘Visionaries are taking risks. The field is alive with novel approaches and rich in activity and experimentation. With continued intellectual and financial investments, great opportunity exists for technological advancements that could apply well beyond electric aircraft.’”
LEAP’s press release acknowledges the support Sikorsky Innovation have given the prize program. Sikorsky has been working on its own electric helicopter, the Firefly. “’Aviation provides a terrific community to foster the great innovators of the future,’ said Chris Van Buiten, Director, Sikorsky Innovations. ‘The LEAP organization shares our enthusiasm for exploring exciting and creative solutions that will transform our industry, and we applaud Erik’s efforts to raise awareness and educate today’s students who are our future engineers, designers and inventors.’”
Calin Gologan, founder and President of PC-Aero, told the second annual World Symposium on Electric Aircraft about not only Elektra One, but plans for Elektra Two and Elektra Four – two and four seat developments that would epitomize Gologan’s vision of aircraft with three-hour endurance and real world performance.
According to PC-Aero’s web site, Elektra One will need “only about 20 m2 photovoltaic cells (costs about 6000 EUR) on the hangar roof in order to fly more than 300 hours/year. Elektra Two will need about 40 m2 solar cells. In less than 8 years the costs of the solar cells will be returned. In this way a real CO2 zero emission flight will be realized.
“We name this concept ‘Green Village Airfield’, the future of e-mobility in flying clubs leisure aviation.”
Einar Enevoldson, team leader for Elektra One’s Green Flight Challenge operation and founder of the Perlan Project, will be on hand to oversee Elektra One’s flight at Santa Rosa, California for the Google sponsored, NASA/CAFE Foundation event. The GFC takes place from September 25 through October 2.