Pipistrel wins NASA prize for third time in a row

Ivo Boscarol: "I am happy that we have proven that flying electric aircraft can now be on a par with flying aircraft powered by fossil fuels."

October 2011

The Pipistrel team from Ajdovščina, Slovenia, was awarded NASA prize for the most energy efficient aircraft. The world’s first ever electric-powered four-seat aircraft, the Taurus G4, won Pipistrel this third consecutive victory.

I am happy that we have proven that flying electric aircraft can now be on a par with flying aircraft powered by fossil fuels. I hope that, also owing to this victory, we will in our field of expertise contribute to preserving the atmosphere over the coming years. We will earmark part of our prize-money for a fund dedicated to the development of a supersonic electric aircraft,’ announced Ivo Boscarol at the award ceremony.

Pipistrel team had again demonstrated its flagship development work and technology

Pipistrel team. Photo: STA

Thirteen teams registered for the CAFE Green Flight Challenge competition in Santa Rosa, California, but only four of them met the demanding requirements.  According to one of the qualifying conditions set by the organizers, each team had to include a US partner. Pipistrel therefore teamed up with the developers and testers of the Penn State University and established Pipistrel-USA.com .

The Slovenian members of this joint team included the aerodynamics designer, Gregor Veble, the project leader, Tine Tomažič, the electric systems expert, Jure Tomažič, and the structure co-designers, Vid Plevnik and Franci Popit. The US part of the team was comprised of the team leader, Jack Lagelaan, test pilots Dave Morss and Robin Reid, Pipistrel’s US agent Michael Coates and Pipistrel’s local agent in California Vance Turner.   

E-Genius, phoEnix and EcoEagle made up the competition for Ivo Boscarol and his Taurus G4 during the seven-day race in the US. Mr Boscarol, however, believes that there were only two real rivals for first place; his team and E-Genius from the University of Stuttgart, which ended up second. Since Pipistrel was the development partner of E-Genius, this is actually a double victory for the Slovenian company.

Third consecutive victory for Pipistrel

Pipistrel and its Virus SW aircraft have already won two NASA competitions in 2007 and 2008. The co-owner and CEO of Pipistrel, Mr Boscarol, was thrilled to hear of this third consecutive victory and dedicated the awarded funds for development.

At the award ceremony in Santa Rosa, Pipistrel received a cheque for US$ 1.3 million. Mr Boscarol was pleased to be able to dedicate US$ 100 000 for a new competition fund.

Source: STA, Sinfo, October 2011