Skies turn green for $1.65 million flight challenge (photos)

The Green Flight Challenge, sponsored by Google, has taken off in Santa Rosa, California in a competition that will award the largest ever prize in aviation. $1.65 million awarded by NASA to the team with with highest scores in the competition. Team aircraft must fly 200 miles in less than two hours using the energy equivalent of less than 1 gallon of gasoline per occupant. There will also be a a bio-fuel prize and a special Lindbergh Prize for Quietest Aircraft.

CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency) is conducting the event the event which concludes on Oct. 3. Only 3, PhoEnix, Pipistrel-USA and e-Genius, of the original 13 competitors remain.

On the first day each of the finalists were judged on the noise emitted by their aircraft. Each one passed the tests.

One of the finalists is the e-Genius aircraft run by a team led by Eric Raymond from California. This motorized glider features a 60 kW electric motor with a large diameter propeller (rear).

Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)