Team Lead Jack Langelaan poses for photo next to Pipistrel-USA, Taurus G4, plane before claiming the 2011 Green Flight Challenge. Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Green flights are getting even closer to reality: NASA announced the winner CAFE Green Flight Challenge 2011 (scroll down for video)

NASA revealed winner of CAFE Green Flight Challenge, specifically created to inspire the development of a new “green” projects in aviation industry. The contest was sponsored by Google, and those who took part in it were able to enter into aviation history and implement the project thus creating new jobs, new industry and helping the planet.

CAFE Flight Green Challenge was won by the Pipistrel-USA.com team, which received $1.35 million. Second place, with a prize of $ 120,000, was claimed by eGenius team from Ramona, California.

The 14 teams that signed up in the competition had to meet certain requirement. They came with prototype planes that had to fly 200 miles (320 km) in less than two hours, and feature a fuel consumption of under four liters per passenger or the equivalent in electricity. Seven of the planes paticipating in the contest were electric, and the others used diesel, ethanol, biofuel or a hybrid system.

“NASA congratulated Pipistrel-USA.com for proving the ultra-efficient aviation is closer to us. Today we showed that an electric airplane can move beyond the science fiction imagination and we are close to put it also practice,” said Joe Parrish, head of NASA technology department.

Both winning projects are powered by electricity and have reached the competition requirements in terms of energy efficiency, i.e. the planes flew 200 miles using only electricity equivalent of 4 liters of fuel per passenger.

“Two years ago, the thought that we could fly 320 km at a speed of 160 km/h using an electric plane was pure fiction. Now we look with confidence to the future of electric aviation, “said Jack W. Langelaan, the leader of Team Pipistrel-USA.com.

Video: Pipistrel Taurus G4 electric plane: winner of NASA Google Green Flight Challenge 2011

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