NASA Announces Winners Of GA Technology Challenge

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NASA awarded $97,000 in prizes last week at the 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge, which was held in Santa Rosa, Calif. The largest prize awarded was $50,000 for best safety features, which went to Vance Turner's team from El Dorado Hills, Calif., flying a modified Pipistrel Virus. The Pipistrel team also won prizes for the shortest takeoff distance and best angle of climb, and shared the lowest cabin noise prize with a team led by John Dunham of Carson City, Nev. Dunham's team flew a customized Lambada aircraft and won $20,000 for the community noise prize. Pilot Bob Basham, flying a Flight Design-CT, won a prize of $3,750 for best glide ratio at 100 mph. A $50,000 Green Aviation Prize purse was offered, but no team was able to exceed the minimum requirement of 30 miles per gallon, although all the competitors came close. The prize money not won this year will roll over to next year's competition, which will offer over $600,000 in prize money.

The challenge was managed by the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency, or CAFE, Foundation at the Sonoma County Airport. The GA Challenge is one of seven NASA technology prize competitions known as Centennial Challenges, which were launched in 2005.