Google Sponsoring Green Flight Challenge

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Google has thrown its considerable weight behind the Green Flight Challenge, a competition aimed at spurring the development of energy-efficient personal aircraft. NASA has already put up $1.65 million in prize money for the competition and the minimum qualification is a top speed of at least 100 mph and overall energy efficiency of at least the equivalent of 200 passenger miles per gallon. The competition will be held Sept. 25-Oct.3 at Charles M. Shultz Airport in Sonoma, Calif., and the Google Green Flight Challenge Exposition, hosted by NASA, will be at Moffet Field on Oct. 3, where the competing aircraft and related technologies will be on display. The aircraft will compete on a closed course and scored on their performance.

There are 13 teams vying for the prize money and propulsion systems include hybrids, bio-fuel and hydrogen. By far the most popular pick is pure electric, however, and Google is helping out with that. It's sponsoring the first "emissions-free" charging station for the aircraft by sourcing electricity from a geothermal generating station. Erik Lindbergh is presenting the prize for the quietest aircraft in the competition.