For quite some time now the issue of cleaner aircraft has been a big deal to environmentalists. Currently aircraft including airliners and general aviation planes pollute a substantial amount and despite the money involved there was no real push for any alternative fuels. Fortunately greener technologies were being developed by various people and NASA helped push that drive by creating the first green aviation competition. This week NASA officially crowned the winners of the contest.
According to NASA the requirements for the contest were based entirely on fuel consumption and flight distance. Each aircraft was required to travel 200 miles while only burning a single gallon of fuel per occupant; all of this must be completed within 2 hours as well so the aircraft were required to be somewhat practical. The winning team was the first to successfully build and test a design meeting these requirements and the winning team was a private research team from Pennsylvania.
Thanks to the efficiency and speed of the aircraft the winning team managed to earn the $1.3 million dollar prize from NASA. Obviously there was a substantial amount of money spent to develop the technology but the company behind the design is hopeful that someday they will in fact be able to transfer everything they have learned in this project over to full size aircraft and airliners so that emissions will be reduced and the environmental impact of aircraft will be substantially reduced. All in all this is great news environmentally and technologically.