Five Finalists Named For Green Flight Challenge

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Thirteen teams applied to compete in next week's Green Flight Challenge, with $1.65 million in prize money at stake -- the largest aviation prize ever offered -- but now the field is down to five competitors, NASA and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation said on Tuesday. Only those five teams met all of the criteria to compete. The criteria are complex, but include that the aircraft must be capable of reaching an average speed of at least 100 mph, take off in less than 2,000 feet to clear a 50-foot obstacle, and produce a decibel rating of less than 78 dBA at full-power takeoff. The five finalists are Team Feuling, Phoenix Air, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Pipistrel-USA, and e-Genius. To win the competition, an aircraft must fly 200 miles in less than two hours and use less than one gallon of fuel per occupant, or the equivalent in electricity.

If more than one aircraft meets the criteria, first place will go to the team with the best combination of speed and efficiency. The competition will run from Sept. 25 to Oct. 1 at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif. The schedule of events is posted at the CAFE Foundation website. Spectators are welcome, and an Expo at the site will feature over 20 exhibitors showcasing alternative technologies. Free tickets are available online. Google is sponsoring the event, which will finish up with an awards ceremony on Oct. 3 at NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.