This weekend I spent a day at EAA AirVenture 2009 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. This is an air show with an emphasis on innovative personal aircraft held by the Experimental Aircraft Association. I took a number of pictures, which you can see here:
Many of the photos were related to innovation prizes of one sort or another. A few were taken in the EAA AirVenture Museum, which includes a SpaceShipOne Exhibit.
As you can see from the pictures, I stopped by the Velocity Aircraft display to admire the planes and pick up a brochure on Rocket Racing - a sport which not only might involve some sort of prizes for the winners, but which also has strong prize connections with Peter Diamandis and Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge competitor Armadillo Aerospace.
The CAFE Foundation officially announced the CAFE Green Flight Challenge (CGFC) at the event: Green Flight Challenge Goes Live! - NASA and CAFE make official announcement at AirVenture 2009 - The announcement is on
a flight efficiency competition for aircraft that can average at least 100 mph on a 200-mile flight while achieving greater than 200 passenger miles-per-gallon. The prize for the aircraft with the best performance will be $1.5 million. This is the largest prize ever offered for a general aviation competition. A $150,000 prize for best score by a bio-fueled aircraft is also offered.
I wasn't there the day of the announcement, but I did get some pictures of electric aircraft. Also see this from Space for All: Sci-Tech: Electric plane progress
The vehicle I, uh, focused on the most is WhiteKnightTwo, which is certainly a striking and impressive sight that I was glad to see (having barely made it in time). It's fair to say that the Ansari X PRIZE played a major role in getting to this point. In one of the talks I went to, Burt Rutan emphasized the role of competition, including prizes, in encouraging innovations. You can find a daunting amount of news about WhiteKnightTwo/Oshkosh in RLV News (Space Transport News at HobbySpace):
The Space Review and the Space Show this week - This week's Space Review includes an article and photo gallery featuring WhiteKnightTwo. (As an aside, this post also mentions a Space Show interview involving the Team America Rocket Challenge).
WK2 back in Mojave - The photo comes care of an employee of another Lunar Lander Challenge competitors, Masten Space Systems.
It's also good to see that at least one member of Google Lunar X PRIZE team @NextGiantLeap was at the air show!
A few of the pictures don't have much to do with prizes, but I kept them nevertheless. The Seaplane Base is an example.
I also took a few videos of WhiteKnightTwo on display, taking off, and doing a pass over the air show: