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LEAP Electric Prizes Awarded at AERO

April 21, 2011 — The Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize (LEAP) organization, led by Erik Lindbergh and Yolanda Wulff, acknowledged worldwide efforts by companies and organizations to move electric flight forward by awarding its annual electric aircraft awards at last week’s AERO Expo 2011 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

During the opening day reception, held on Wednesday, April 16, LEAP gathered some of the most prestigious names in aviation for a panel discussion on the future of electric flight. Participating were His Royal Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, Wolfgang von Zeppelin, Cornelius Dornier, and Sergei Sikorsky.

At the end of the panel discussion, Lindbergh announced that the Solar Impulse project had been selected to receive the 2011 LEAP Outstanding Achievement award for its manned 26-hour solar flight of July 7-8, 2010. Bertrand Piccard and Andre Boschberg, pilot for that flight, who were on stage for the panel discussion, gratefully accepted the award. “If we want to solve the new challenges of our world, we all have a role to play,” Piccard said “We need to cultivate a pioneering spirit to motivate people to change. Solar Impulse shows that with the technology of today, solving our problems can be done. By focusing on solar, we could allow the world to divide in half the use of fossil fuels. And, if we can do it in the air, it can be done anywhere.

“What is extremely rewarding is that our project is raising a lot of interest from young people,” Piccard added,  “This award is the beginning of something else for us; we will work hard to inspire young people just like we were inspired by the great names of aviation represented here today and others.”

Pipistrel Taurus Electro G2, FES Self-Launcher

Taurus Electro G2
Pipistrel’s Taurus Electro G2

Solar Trailer
Pipistrel’s Solar Trailer

Front End Sustainer/Self Launcher
LZ Design’s Front End Sustainer/Self Launcher

During Friday afternoon ceremonies, Lindbergh announced two more LEAP awards: The Best Electric Aircraft award went to Pipistrel Aircraft for its Taurus Electro, while LZ Design received the Best Propulsion System award for its Front End Sustainer.

The Taurus Electro G2 is a two-seat, self-launching glider powered by a 40-kilowatt electric power train that provides 40 kilowatts for takeoff and 30 kilowatts of continuous power. At AERO, Pipistrel also introduced a companion Solar Trailer for the Electro, which can charge the Taurus Electro G2 in as little as five hours - free of charge and with zero emissions.

The Front End Sustainer/Self Launcher (FES) combines an electric motor with a small, foldable propeller for the front end of self-launching gliders, eliminating the need for a tow plane. Currently, the FES has been fitted on LAK 17A and 17B and 19 gliders.

Berblinger Flight Competition

Lange Antares
Lange 20E

Sunseeker
Sunseeker II

Swift Electric Hang Glider
Swift Electric Hang Glider

Also part of AERO 2011’s e-Flight Expo was the Berblinger Flight Competition, an annual contest held by the City of Ulm, Germany, in honor of the “Tailor of Ulm,” Albrecht Berblinger, who attempted to fly a hang glider across the Danube in 1811. On Friday, April 15, the 24 participants in the competition attempted to fly from Friedrichshafen to Ulm, a distance of approximately 80 kilometers. High winds and various other complications resulted in only eight participants completing the flight. (Thirteen competitors started but five were unable to finish.)

Three of those who completed the flight were awarded cash prizes by the competition judges during ceremonies in Ulm on Sunday, April 17. Receiving €45,000 ($65,250) each were the Lange 20E, piloted by Stefan Senger, a self-launching sailplane with a 65-foot wingspan powered by a 42 kW motor; and the Sunseeker II, piloted by Eric Raymond, a 75-foot wingspan, solar-powered glider. A special prize of €10,000 ($14,500) was awarded to the ultralight Swift Electric Hang Glider, flown by Manfred Ruhmer, powered by a 10-kilowatt motor weighing only 3.7 kilograms. For more info on the Berblinger competition, click here.

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