New Lindbergh Prize Promotes Electric Aircraft

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A new project headed by Erik Lindbergh aims to promote the development of electric aircraft by offering annual incentive prizes for the best technology. Lindbergh said he hopes the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prizes (LEAP) will engage inventors and move the electric aircraft segment forward. "This is tremendously exciting to many of us in the aviation industry," he said. Prizes will be awarded in four categories: best electric aircraft; best component (such as batteries or motors); best sub-system (a set of interacting components); and the public choice award, based on a vote. The prizes will reward practicality, LEAP spokesperson Yolanka Wulff told AVweb. "The technical advisory committee is encouraging a product that could be brought to the marketplace so that aviators who want an electric aircraft can obtain it and operate it in some practical fashion," she said. "In other words, electric aircraft that are cheaper, easier to fly, and/or safer, will win out over electric aircraft that are super-complex, expensive, or technically challenging to fly."

No value has yet been set for each of the prizes, which may comprise cash or products, Wulff said. A system is being developed so contenders can be nominated over the Internet. An independent judging panel will select the winners, and the prizes will be awarded at EAA AirVenture at Oshkosh. The prizes are a project of Lindbergh's nonprofit group, the Creative Solutions Alliance. Its mission is to inspire, showcase, and leverage innovation for a resilient future.