Awards Won: Safety Prize, Shortest Takeoff Distance, Quietest Cabin Noise, 400 Mile Race Winner, Best Angle of Climb The Pipistrel Virus took home more awards than any other craft, but the team was still disappointed with their results, as it had performed better in some categories last year. The $100k craft has a constant propeller speed switch that helps with fuel efficiency (28.8 MPG for the competition), as well as heavy sound dampening where it tied the Lambada motoglider for lowest cabin noise at 91.5 db. The plane flew 145 miles per hour, and only required 924 feet for takeoff. Pipistrel even flew out a team of engineers from Slovenia to install a new engine that was supposed to improve power and mileage, but it didn't quite work out. What did work out was the super high-tech dashboard, normally found in much more expensive planes, with the aforementioned three GPS modules and a panel that can take map data and can digitally recreate the surrounding geography when visibility is poor.
Awards Won: Lowest Community Noise, Quietest LSA, Lowest Cabin Noise Running as quietly as a pickup truck, the sexily named UFM-13 Lambada motoglider took home prizes for having the lowest community noise, at 62dB. According to team leader John Dunham, the plane would have also won the Best Glide Ratio award—this measures the amount a plane can move forward once it cuts power and eases back towards the ground, and the UFM-13 is apparently able to glide at a similar rate as a feather—but miscalculations due to human error prevented that from happening. Few mods were made to the plane itself, other than noise dampening measures. For the challenge, it managed to fly 130 mph, averaged 26.5 mpg and required 1011 feet for takeoff.
Flight Design CT
Awards Won: Best Glide Ratio Spearheaded by freelance aircraft mechanic Bob Bashim, this Flight Design CT didn't have the resources of some of the other teams, but managed to snag the Best Glide Ratio prize. Bashim had some neat ideas to reduce noise and fuel consumption, including the use of a motorcycle muffler on his plane. Other measures taken for the challenge include adding noise dampening panels around the engine, and removing all unnecessary weight around the plane. — — — Though most of the participants started working on this only 6 weeks ago, they are already looking forward to next year, with more time to work on their planes. Pipistrel's team in particular is interested in the idea of shorter takeoff lengths, where people could have their own runways, and wouldn't have to use a regional airport to hit the skies. For more information on the challenge, check out the homepage of the [CAFE Foundation].