Monday, August 1, 2011

Greening Aviation

We’ve gone a long way from the Wright brother’s flying machine, but imagine taking a flight from San Francisco to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina in an aircraft with zero emissions. It’s not possible yet, but we hope it will be. That’s why we’re sponsoring the Green Flight Challenge, a flight competition to demonstrate aircraft with the potential to fly across the country emissions-free.

The competition is being organized and conducted by the CAFE Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to the advancement of aviation technology. NASA will fund the $1.65 million prize purse, the largest in aviation history. There’s a $1.3 million grand prize and several additional prizes, including one for biofuel-powered aircraft that achieve certain targets.

There are several teams in the running, using a wide range of energy sources. The CAFE Flight Test Center at the Santa Rosa Airport will even feature the world’s first Electric Aircraft Charging station, where the competition’s electric-powered aircraft will recharge. The contestants have to fly 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of just 1 gallon of gas or less per occupant.

The Green Flight Challenge will run from September 25th to October 3rd at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport. On October 3rd, you’ll get a chance to see the competing aircraft at Moffett Field, right here in Mountain View CA, at the Google sponsored exposition hosted by NASA. Tickets will be available soon on the CAFE website!

At Google, we’ve been working to make our transportation system as green as possible by incorporating the latest plug-in vehicles into our G-fleet and building the largest electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the country, among other initiatives. We’re excited by the potential of emissions-free air travel too. So fasten your seatbelts and stow your tray tables, we’re ready for green aviation to take off.

Posted by Alec Proudfoot, Project Manager and Aviation Enthusiast, Google

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