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noneThis content refers to past CAFE Challenges. Learn about the 2011 CAFE Green Flight Challenge.

  Personal Air Vehicles (PAV)

PAV Goals

Affordability, Saving Airports and Increasing Volume of LSAs The goal of the PAV Centennial Challenge is to develop affordable, efficient and safe PAVs that are able to quietly land at very small airports that are close-in to small communities, saving time spent on ground transportation and making flying more accessible to people across America. By becoming an appealing travel option for large numbers of consumers, the winning PAVs can merit production in large volume. This will make them much more affordable and help secure the legitimacy and future of general aviation and its network of small airports.

The PAV CC is an ideal complement to the new Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) initiative. Its rules are designed to allow recreational LSAs to compete and gain wide public exposure through the mainstream media coverage of the event. Enhancement to LSA popularity created by the PAV CC will accelerate their sales. The less expensive certification made possible by the consensus standards for Light Sport Aircraft make them more affordable and such benefits may be extended to PAVs.

Relieving Gridlock and Improving Fuel Economy

A widely distributed transportation system based on PAVs will greatly relieve the onerous gridlock and inefficiencies that increasingly plague our major hub airports and will extend convenient air travel to rural areas and smaller communities. The PAV CC requires aircraft to qualify by demonstrating high fuel economy, e.g., 27.5 MPG for a 2 seat aircraft.

Near-All Weather Travel Enabled

Numerous other technology spin-offs are going to be stimulated by the PAV CC rules, such as near all-weather synthetic vision systems for PAVs. NASA studies show that, with such technologic progress, PAVs can become the vehicle of choice for up to 49% of all miles traveled.

Next to affordability, the single greatest obstacle to widespread use of personal aircraft is the difficulty of flying them in clouds, fog and rainy weather. The PAV CC specifically addresses this need by including the use of a synthetic vision tool in the flight testing of the competing vehicles. This tool will be developed from existing, FAA-approved CAFE Foundation flight test equipment and will provide public domain software for its widespread use in general aviation. Flying with synthetic vision, in turn, demands vehicles with pilot-friendly flying qualities, another qualification requirement in the PAV CC. [Read more about Synthetic Vision Systems]

Safety First

The PAV CC rules specifically require a stall speed of below 52 mph and must be able to land safely with a total power failure. Future competitions may require the use of air bags and emergency vehicular parachutes, along with other safety assurances. All vehicles must be FAA licensed and inspected before competing.

Quiet Please

The PAV CC offers two major prizes for the quietest aircraft. Quietest Cabin Noise prize is $25,000, as is the prize for lowest noise radiated into the community. In addition, there are stringent noise limitations required of all PAVs that compete in the Centennial Challenge. These will become more stringent in each succeeding year and will spur improvements in quieting technologies.

Terrorism Protection

A distributed transportation system using small PAVs thwarts terrorists who would most likely attack large aircraft that carry large numbers of people into crowded areas.

Utility Like A Family Sedan

The competition will award $25,000 for best "Ease of Use", which will promote the design of aircraft that are comfortable, easy to load and board, are easy to maintain, and have low pilot workloads. The goal is sometimes referred to as evolving a "Honda Accord of the Sky".

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