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400 miles per gallon, in a plane

Original post made on Oct 10, 2011

Just before soaring like a graceful bird over a mesmerized crowd at Moffett Field on Monday, a Slovenian-built electric plane was declared the most efficient airplane in the world and won the biggest money-prize in aviation history: $1.3 million, donated by Google.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, October 10, 2011, 10:56 AM

Comments (5)

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Lorrie
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 10, 2011 at 2:45 pm

Unlike cars, airplanes can go straight. No winding roads on the way to Tahoe. That saves over 25% of the distance in addition to the speed advantage.


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Posted by ugh
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 10, 2011 at 11:13 pm

so they copy one of Burt Rutan;s designs, put an electric engine and 1000lbs of LiPo cells in and win $1.3M. pretty cool, but hardly revolutionary.


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Posted by Jeff
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Oct 11, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Dear ugh, so you really think that looks like the Rutan design? Only very generally, with several very big differences. You are missing a great deal in your rush to make a dismissive remark.


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Posted by ugh
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Oct 11, 2011 at 9:24 pm

I just don't get it... what about the design is revolutionary? OK, so it is a variation in the Rutan Voyager/global-flyer twin boom concept, but with an electric motor. I'm sure there is something to it, as it won what was a stiff competition, but the article gives no clues as to why it was the victor... it would be like saying an internal combustion engine passenger car won a competition with 200mpg, without any insight into what they did differently.


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Posted by Alex M.
a resident of Willowgate
on Oct 11, 2011 at 9:44 pm

Actually Pipistrel is a rather innovative aircraft company in its own right. They don't need to copy other designs. Their web site Web Link is interesting, especially the "extreme flight" events that their aircraft compete in. An earlier version of their Taurus (not the twin-boom G4 but a more conventional looking electric sailplane) won the Lindbergh competition earlier this year. Unfortunately their site doesn't have any information on the G4 yet, that I could find.


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