Electric and hybrid aircraft for Great Air Race

+VIDEO So you’re launching The Great Air Race 2019 to mark the centenary of the original London to Darwin event? How do you make such a race as difficult for the pilots of modern aircraft as it was for the pioneering pilots of the 1919?

Answer: aim the race at low pollution, electrically-powered or hybrid-powered aircraft. Yes, to enter you have to be flying one of the new breed of innovative, highly efficient aircraft.

The concept for this race originates with Australian pioneer aviator, adventurer and businessman Dick Smith. Prior to 1919, no aircraft had flown the vast distances necessary to reach the other side of the globe. The challenge the 2019 event poses is very similar: are electric aircraft ready to tackle that same route?

As in 1919, competitors will depart from London, and travel roughly 18,000km around the globe, before landing in Darwin. The race is due to take place in late 2019, with a route as true as possible to that travelled by the famous 1919 Great Air Race pilots.

“The purpose of the Great Air Race is to demonstrate the practicality of electric flight and to highlight the best designs, by means of rigorously measured performance criteria in a fair competition,” said the organisers.

“To simplify logistics arrangements, some lay-days, staging of flight legs and defined stop-overs will be required. To be accepted as an entry, teams must nominate their aircraft for one of four classes.”

The four classes are:

Class I. Battery Electric

  • Aircraft must be exclusively electrically powered.
  • From the beginning of the take-off roll, during flight and until the aircraft comes to rest after landing, all energy must be supplied exclusively from onboard batteries, wind-driven turbines/propellers and/or solar cells.

Class II. Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Electric

  • Aircraft must be exclusively electrically powered.
  • From the beginning of the take-off roll, during flight and until the aircraft comes to rest after landing, all energy must be supplied exclusively from onboard batteries, wind-driven turbines/propellers, solar cells and hydrogen.

Class III. Hybrid Combustion-Engine Electric
Aircraft must be exclusively electrically powered.

  • Only series hybrids are permitted. There must be no mechanical drive of any kind from the combustion engine to the propeller or propulsion turbine.
  • From the beginning of the take-off roll, during flight and until the aircraft comes to rest after landing, all energy must be supplied exclusively from on-board batteries, wind-driven turbines/propellers, solar cells and the declared fuel.

 

Class IV. Efficiency Class

  • Aircraft may be of any design, including purely combustion engine driven, and hybrid aircraft of any configuration.
  • The winner’s score will be calculated from a combination of flight time and fuel consumption (formula TBA).

 

Great Air Race 2019

 

Comments

  1. It’s incredible how much aerospace technology has changed in the one hundred years since the first flight from London to Darwin! Can’t wait to see how the different electric aircraft will perform. Maybe one of the teams will make history and fly across the globe with an electric aircraft.

  2. “From the beginning of the take-off roll, … all energy must be supplied exclusively from onboard batteries, WIND-DRIVEN TURBINES…”

    Is this some sort of joke?

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