Sport Airplane Wins NASA Challenge

The US Space Agency NASA has just awarded $250,000 in prize money this weekend to teams competing in a personal aircraft vehicle race sponsored by the Cafe Foundation at the Charles Schultz Sonoma County Airport in California. The object of the race was to design an aircraft which could one day become the prototype for "air cars." After all of the race data was tallied Saturday, NASA named its winners in the evening. The grand prize of $100,000 went to the team flying a slightly modified short-wing Pipistrel Virus, a Slovenia-built sport aircraft that's only recently been approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and which sells for about $70,000. That plane, flown by an Australian pilot who works for Pipistrel, also won $25,000 for the best short-take off, and another $25,000 for the efficiency challenge. The Australian pilot Michael Coates called the plane the "Prius of airplanes" not because it's a hybrid but because it can go as fast as 170 mph and get 50 miles to the gallon.

The short-wing Pipistrel, known as a Virus, swept most of the prize money because it's amazingly lightweight, according to Mark Moore, an aerospace engineer at NASA who used to preside over the PAV group before it was closed two years ago. "Only 682 pounds empty weight complete--it literally carries more useful load, that is passengers, fuel, and baggage, than the aircraft weighs."

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In the future, homeowners will have the option of buying their own SAM missile battery. Everyone in your home will have the piece of mind knowing that, if a plane is going to collide with your house, the issue will be taken care of before the problem arrives.

4tehlulz said,
In the future, homeowners will have the option of buying their own SAM missile battery. Everyone in your home will have the piece of mind knowing that, if a plane is going to collide with your house, the issue will be taken care of before the problem arrives.

Yea, that's the ticket. And when you're neighbor's dog barks all night or he's just a pain... you can then launch your home missles at him. This would get "interesting".

jameswjrose said,
Yea, that's the ticket. And when you're neighbor's dog barks all night or he's just a pain... you can then launch your home missles at him. This would get "interesting". ;)

... except that SAM stands for Surface to Air Missile...

It seems possible. It used to be that private horse carriages were available to a select few, then cars for a select few and now private planes for a select few. It's possible that later on everyone will own a private plane just like how most people own a car now.