NAA Planning Electric Aircraft Race


The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) has announced plans to hold a cross-country air race for electric aircraft. According to the association, the 1,000-NM cross-country race will be a resumption of the Pulitzer air races first held in the early 1920s with the winner to be awarded the Pulitzer Trophy. The Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Air Race, which is currently scheduled for May 16-19, 2022, will be flown from Omaha, Nebraska, to near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

“The cross-country format, rather than a closed-circuit speed event, was selected to emphasize electric aircraft range and reliability, in addition to speed, in a realistic operating environment,” NAA said. “A cross-country race will require careful logistical planning from the race teams and highlight different electric propulsion technology choices and operational strategies such as rapid battery charging, whole battery changes, and solar power augmentation to extend range.”

Although limited to 25 contestants, the race is open to any piloted aircraft using “zero-emission electric propulsion” including fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters and multi-rotor urban air mobility (UAM) vehicles. It will be conducted in day VFR conditions only. The winner will be determined by “the fastest speed calculated from the cumulative flight time, not including time on the ground for maintenance, charging, or overnight stays.”

Kate O'Connor
Kate O’Connor works as AVweb's Editor-in-Chief. She is a private pilot, certificated aircraft dispatcher, and graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

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  1. Should be a real snooze. I bet door to door accounting for recharge time a kid on a 1977 Motobecane moped would win.

  2. Kudos to the NAA for encouraging in this fashion new aviation technology in its infancy. Easy to diss from our comfortable armchairs. Its craziness is surpassed only by early 20th century air races across remote areas of the world in which people died not only from air crashes but also from exposure to atmospheric elements and hostile human environments post aircraft engine failures etc. We have those early daredevils to thank for airmail. The naysayers of that era are long gone irrelevant only to give way to this era’s naysayers.

  3. The real race is to see who actually gets to the starting line!

    “zero-emission electric propulsion”. How can it be assured that no coal or gas was used in producing the electricity–or can anyone calculate the energy and emissions used in producing and distributing the electric power of the solar, wind, hydro power, or nuclear generating plants and distribution? How about the “zero emissions” in producing the batteries? Those of us who were in the military used to call “pretending that something is something else” a “REACH-AROUND.” For those not familiar, Google it on Wiktionary.

    “The winner will be determined by “the fastest speed calculated from the cumulative flight time, not including time on the ground for maintenance, charging, or overnight stays.

    In other words, the winner isn’t the vehicle with the shortest FLIGHT time–it may be marked in CALENDAR time!

  4. I don’t understand why the ground time doesn’t count. Should be that somebody fires a starting pistol, and we see who gets to the finish line first. That’s how most races work.