Erik Lindbergh, founder of the electric-aviation promotion organization LEAP and grandson of pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh, today announced it has awarded its Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft Vision Award to PC-Aero for its development, along with SolarWorld, of a solar-enabled electric aircraft system complete with solar-charging hangar.
Linbergh made the announcement at the World Electric Aircraft Symposium, a day-long conference to showcase and advance innovation in electric-powered flight, during the EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011 air show in Oshkosh, Wis., concluding Saturday. A delighted Calin Gologan of Germany, principal of PC-Aero, accepted the award at the symposium, where he provided a presentation on his aircraft, Elektra One. A representative of SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years, also thanked him for his work on emission-free aviation.
"My surprise was 200 percent, and I'm very honored," said Gologan, 57, who lives in southern Germany. "This is a recognition for our good work, which will motivate us to keep our effort under way in the future."
The award was the seventh from LEAP (Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize). Three each were awarded at the same show in 2010 and at Aero-Friedrichshafen in southern Germany this spring. Those awards have honored various facets of electric-powered aviation. The Elektra One was the third aircraft, and both the first solar-enabled airplane and the first complete electric aircraft system, to be honored. The plane will be sold as a package featuring wing-borne SolarWorld photovoltaic cells to extend its range as well as a SolarWorld-powered hangar to house the plane and charge the aircraft's lithium battery pack.
"Having a complete plan for energy management is the key to widespread adoption of electric propulsion," a LEAP release issued today said. "PC-Aero is the winner of the Lindbergh Prize for Electric Aircraft Vision Award for its integration of SolarWorld's solar technology into its Elektra One aircraft and the supporting hanger. Its vision is for the energy from the rooftop solar cells to not only provide power to the aircraft but also the hanger itself and excess energy to feed back to the power grid."
"This is an electrifying time," Erik Lindbergh said in the release. "Visionaries are taking risks. The field is alive with novel approaches and rich in activity and experimentation. With continued intellectual and financial investments, great opportunity exists for technological advancements that could apply well beyond electric aircraft."
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