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Other Prize Competitions
Click here for links leading to other competitions and related activities external to Centennial Challenges.

Centennial of Flight

image of Wright flyer

In December 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright, two bicycle mechanics working with no government support, initiated the age of powered flight with their success at Kitty Hawk. NASAs Prize Program honors the spirit of the Wright Brothers and other independent inventors by acknowledging the centennial of the first powered flight in 2003. The NASA Centennial Challenges program also recognizes that the rapid and dramatic progress in aeronautics in the early years of the first century of flight was often driven by prize competitions.

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"If we are to achieve results never before accomplished, we must expect to employ methods never before attempted."
Sir Francis Bacon

Green Flight Challenge

NASA EDGE and Brien Seeley at the 2011 CAFE Green Flight Challenge

NASA EDGE: 2011 Green Flight Challenge

NASA EDGE covers the Green Flight Challenge and witness an aviation first, true electric flight!

› Transcript› Download Vodcast (476MB)
Pipistrel USA, Taurus G4 aircraft is seen as it participates in the miles per gallon flight.

NASA Awards Historic Green Aviation Prize

NASA has awarded the largest prize in aviation history, inspiring more fuel-efficient aircraft and the start of a new electric airplane industry.

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CAFE Foundation Hanger Boss Mike Fenn waves the speed competition checkered flag for the PhoEnix aircraft during the 2011 Green Flight Challenge.

Green Flight Challenge: The Need for Speed

On the last day of the Green Flight Challenge, the aviation teams feel a need for speed.

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Campus of the 2011 Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, is seen in this aerial view at the Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif.

A Day for Recharging: Green Flight Challenge Continues

Green Flight Challenge teams spent Day Three recharging their electric aircraft batteries in preparation for the Sept. 30 speed challenge.

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The PhoEnix aircraft soars across the finish line of the miles per gallon flight.

Like Birds in the Sky

Planes competing in the Green Flight Challenge flew like birds to test the fuel efficiency of their aircraft.

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Day One of the Green Flight Challenge collage

Teams Fly Over Competition Hurdles

The Green Flight Challenge has taken off, and the competition is pushing the envelope in aviation technology.

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The Seraph, an experimental technology demonstrator aircraft that will be exhibited at the Green Flight Challenge.

Green Skies Over Santa Rosa

U.S. teams are preparing to test electric, biofueled and hybrid-powered aircraft, vying to be the most fuel-efficient small aircraft in the world.

› Read More|› Media Advisory
Aerial view seen from the Taurus G4 aircraft, developed by Pipistrel USA.

NASA Chat: Green Flight Challenge!

The "wild blue yonder" is about to get a color change. On Sept. 15, chat experts Sam Ortega and Mark Moore discussed Green Flight Challenge.

› Read More|› Chat Transcript

Green Flight Challenge: At the Competition

Green Flight Challenge

    The CAFE Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google was held in late September 2011 at the CAFE Foundation Flight Test Center at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California. Three aircraft competed and two met the challenge requirements to fly 200 miles in less than 2 hours and use less than one gallon of fuel (or energy equivalent) per passenger. The first place prize of $1,350,000 was won by the Pipistrel team led by Langelaan LLC of State College, Pennsylvania. Second place prize of $120,000 went to the e-Genius team led by Eric Raymond of Romona, California.

    Place Team Speed Competition (mph) Fuel Efficiency (mpge) Power
    1st Pipistrel 113.6 403.5 Battery
    2nd e-Genius 107.3 375.7 Battery
    Did not meet minimum mpge PhoEnix 137.5 94.3 Aviation Gasoline

    The awards ceremony and exposition of the competing aircraft was held October 3, 2011 at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

    › Click here for the Challenge Video highlights.
    › Click here for daily Green Flight Challenge reports.

    The Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google (GFC) was announced at AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, WI on July 31, 2009. The flight competition focused on efficiency. The aircraft needed to meet stringent safety and noise requirements as well as reasonable speed and range. The GFC marked the first time in history that full-scale electric-powered aircraft flew in competition. For competition rules see Fourteen teams from all across the USA had entered the Challenge for the largest-ever prize in civil aviation, a total prize purse of $1,650,000. See the list of teams and details of their electric, bio-fueled and hybrid-powered aircraft at

    › Click here to see this paper for an analysis of the aircraft and the competition

    This challenge was the 3rd in a series of aviation competitions under the Centennial Challenges program. The Challenges aim to bring forth aircraft that maximize fuel efficiency, reduce noise and improve safety--features that can be applied in the full range of private, commercial and military aircraft of the future.

    For more information about the CAFE Foundation's Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, visit:

News Releases

  • NASA Awards Historic Green Aviation Prize

    10.03.11 - NASA has awarded the largest prize in aviation history, created to inspire the development of more fuel-efficient aircraft and spark the start of a new electric airplane industry.

  • 'Dawn Of Electric Flight' In Sonoma County  →

    09.27.2011 - 09.27.2011
    Two years in the making, the Green Flight Challenge is essentially a test of who can design and build the most mind-bendingly efficient plane while meeting practical considerations about things such as noise.

Green Flight Coverage

Green Flight Gallery

More Information

Media Coverage

  • NASA Promotes Prize Program for Citizen Inventors  →

    Since 2006 the NASA Centennial Challenges have spurred development for initiatives such as lunar landers, regolith excavation and general aviation technology. The purses range from $200,000 to $2 million, and many prizes so far have been unclaimed because no entry has met the admittedly formidable challenges.

  • Novel Planes Lift Off in NASA Tech Challenge  →

    It was a small but mighty competition, four innovative aircraft over Sonoma County skies, going for the quietest flight, best gas mileage and shortest takeoff required.

  • NASA Awards $100,000 in Aviation Contest  →

    Here at NASA's second annual General Aviation Challenge this weekend, one of the main prizes was the so-called "green prize," which challenged two-seater planes to fly a 400-mile-long course logging at least 30 miles to the gallon.

  • Aviation Innovators Compete for NASA Technology Prizes  →

    The 2008 General Aviation Technology Challenge will be held Aug. 4-10 at the Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, Calif.

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