Electric aircraft nominated for top aviation prize

An electric aircraft team led by Jack W. Langelaan, assistant professor of aerospace engineering at Penn State, is among four nominees for the National Aeronautic Association’s (NAA) Collier Trophy, the "Greatest Award in Aviation."

Langelaan's team, Team Pipistrel-USA.com, took first place and $1.35 million in prize money in the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency Foundation Green Flight Challenge on Oct. 4, 2011.

The contest, held in Santa Rosa, Calif., challenged teams to design and build an electric aircraft capable of flying at an average speed of at least 100 mph over a 200-mile course while achieving a fuel efficiency greater than 200 passenger miles per gallon equivalent.

The team achieved the equivalent of 403 passenger miles per gallon at an average speed of 107 mph during the contest.

Previous Collier Trophy winners include the crews of Apollo 11 and Apollo 8, the Mercury 7 and Howard Hughes. Projects and programs which have received the Collier Trophy include the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber, the Boeing 747, the Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor fighter and the International Space Station.

The winner will be announced on March 13 at the group's spring awards luncheon with the formal trophy presentation on May 10 at the Collier Dinner in Arlington, Va.

Also nominated this year are the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the Lockheed Martin C-5M Super Galaxy military transport aircraft and the University of Maryland's Gamera human-powered aircraft.

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Last Updated February 21, 2012