2008 NASA GAT Challenge Date Change
June 1, 2008
The CAFE Foundation has changed the registration/arrival/check-in date for the 2008 GAT Challenge so that teams will be allowed to arrive and register until 8 PM on Monday August 4, rather than August 3. This change was deemed necessary to accommodate those who are attending the final day of EAA's AirVenture event in Oshkosh (August 3, 2008).
$50,000 Handling Qualities Prize Detailed
May 16, 2008
The 2008 Aviation Safety Prize (ASP) will award $50,000 to the one
aircraft judged to have the best handling qualities among those
entered in the 2008 NASA PAV Challenge. CAFE has only a few entry
slots available for homebuilt, certificated or Light Sport Aircraft
to compete for this winner-take-all prize. Teams must complete their
entry application before June 1 in order to save $1000 in
registration. Final entry deadline is July 1. The ASP is primarily
based on good flying qualities but includes bonus scoring for
aircraft whose flight controls include "eCFI" or electronic pilot
assistance. 'This prize is large enough to actually buy someone their
own LSA', says CAFE President Brien Seeley. For more information please read the details of the ASP. Full rules for the 2008 PAV Challenge are available now.
2008 Electric Aircraft Symposium
April 29, 2008
The CAFE Foundation's 2nd Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium saw presentations that justify the rapidly increasing interest in Green personal air travel. Sponsored by Foundation Capital, the April 26, 2008 meeting assembled an outstanding faculty to discuss the many aspects of electric-powered flight. It included an remarkable announcement by the Experimental Aircraft Association that it has filed a request for the FAA to allow electric propulsion in low cost aircraft.Learn more about this event.
2008 GAT Challenge Announced
CAFE is proud to announce the 2008 flight competition successor to the PAV Centennial Challenge. The new competition embodies many important goals for the future of general aviation and is consequently named the General Aviation Technology Challenge. Learn more about this event.
FAQs for GAT Racers
Jan 21, 2008
In response to a flurry of inquiries about the rules for the GAT Challenge and how LSAs are affected, CAFE has posted these responses as FAQs.
UC Davis Grads Look at PAVs
Jan 15, 2008
Aeronautical engineering grads at UC Davis today received a lecture by CAFE President Brien A. Seeley M.D. about the opportunity for university teams partnering with members of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) to design and build aircraft to participate in the NASA GAT Challenge flight competition. Their professor, Dr. c.p. van Dam, concluded the lecture by asking the students to return to class with an aircraft design that could fit the Challenge. Teams from other leading university programs in aeronautical engineering are expected to enter the flight competition with guidance and airframes co-built by EAA aircraft builders.
ePAVs?: Lockheed and eeStor Ultracap Deal
Jan 11, 2008
A strong vote of confidence for the promise of ultracapacitor use in transportation was given by Lockheed's plan to buy the new ultracapacitors developed by eeStor of Texas. Ultracapacitors offer very high density storage of electrical power. This could allow several hundred mile range for electric-powered PAVs. Details are available here. Lockheed's official PR is available here.
Boeing + NASA Affirm Biofuels
An authoritative 8-page white paper on alternative fuels for use in aviation recently created by Boeing and NASA. The report cites many possible fuels, but concludes that algae biofuel is the "most attractive" alternative for mid-term sustainable mobility. Anyone interested in aviation's future in the face of concerns about Greenhouse Gas emissions and dwindling oil supplies, along with our need for a more distributed air transportation system, should read this paper.
PAV Engines List
CAFE has posted a partial list of established engine manufacturers and their websites. This list is intended to help teams preparing for the General Aviation Technology Challenge. See the list here.
The “First A” in NASA
NASA has produced a movie demonstrating the variety of aeronautics research currently underway in their programs. See the move here.
Remembering Dr. Paul MacCready
"The passing of the visionary Paul MacCready is a great loss to all of us at CAFE, everyone in aviation and all who ever dreamed of flying. I had the great pleasure of getting to know Paul these last 2 years during his avid support for CAFE's PAV Challenge. Just from the brief time shared when he and his son, Tyler, stayed at our home one night, , I recognized that Paul was truly a Galileo of our time. He had that magical combination of wonder, humor, experience, obsession, dedication and determination that make for heroes.
Paul believed that daydreaming was his most productive activity. He understood the value of an open mind and revered the concept of doing more with less. Paul greatly facilitated CAFE's production of the short film "Race to the Future" about PAVs. CAFE was deeply honored that Paul agreed to serve as keynote speaker at the First Ever Electric Aircraft Symposium on May 23, 2007 in San Francisco. We will all miss him dearly."
- Brien Seeley, CAFE President
CAFE Foundation President Brien Seeley Presents at SAE Conference
September 29, 2007
Click to enlarge
CAFE Foundation President, Dr. Brien Seeley, 2nd from left, was among the speakers at the SAE International Aerotech Conference on Flying Cars, held in Los Angeles on September 29, 2007. Also pictured from left to right, are Mark Moore (NASA Langley), Samuel Schweighart (Terrafugia), Paul Moller (Moller International), Jamey Jacob (Oaklahoma State Univ), Palmer Stiles (author, Flying Cars), Richard Strong (Safety Analysis Systems Co.) and Branko Sarh (Boeing Co.) The meeting demonstrated strong support for applying the newest technologies to flying car development. CAFE is currently considering how to integrate flying cars and roadable aircraft into the PAV Challenge.
September 15, 2007
Discovery Channel Online reports about a new noise-reducing glass technology. The proposed system works by placing small sensors and vibration generators within the glass material creating an active noise cancelling system that can reduce a 100 decibel noise in half. [Link]
2007 PAV Challenge Results Posted
August 16, 2007
Results, photos and a summary of the 2007 NASA PAV Challenge are now available.
LSA Owners: Last Chance To Win NASA's
$250,000 Cash Prize
July 5 , 2007
The CAFE Foundation has just learned that 3 of the teams officially entered for the 2007 $250,000 NASA PAV Challenge have withdrawn from the flight competition for LSAs. This opens 3 slots for other teams to enter the August 2007 event. Teams wishing to enter must contact the CAFE Foundation immediately in order to complete their application for the event. Please see the full contest rules for more information.
Boeing Phantom Works to support CAFE Foundation’s PAV Flight Testing
June 30, 2007
Boeing Phantom Works, Boeing’s advanced research and development organization, is providing financial support for the non-profit CAFE Foundation flight research program for small, environmentally-progressive Personal Air Vehicles (PAVs). CAFE (Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency, est. 1981) was chosen by NASA as the official flight test agency to conduct the annual NASA Personal Air Vehicle (PAV) Centennial Challenge, a $2M flight competition that rewards innovations in fuel efficiency, noise reduction, ease of use, speed and short runway capabilities.
Boeing support will help enable CAFE to create and use an advanced suite of new flight test hardware and software to measure the performance of competing PAVs. NASA’s vision is for PAVs to complement the NextGen air transportation system by offering consumer-attractive, on-demand air travel for short range trips. Future PAVs may include conventional takeoff vehicles driveable on highways, vertical takeoff vehicles and solar/electric powered emission-free aircraft.
CNN Coverage of the PAV Challenge
CAFE President Brien Seeley discussed the importance of the NASA PAV Challenge in a 5 minute interview with Jack Hanson of CNN Headline News. The interview includes edited clips of NASA animations showing synthetic vision as a key enabler of PAV operation and is being aired several times on CNN in early July 2007
CAFE Foundation hosts the First Ever Electric Aircraft Symposium
CAFE Foundation President Brien Seeley chaired The First Ever Electric Aircraft Symposium in San Francisco on May 23, 2007. Practical Zero Emissions Electric Powered PAVs that can fly hundreds of miles non-stop may become possible with advances in batteries, solar capture, high lift to drag ratios and nano structures. Driving the discussion was Professor Richard Heinberg's presentation on "The Challenge of Peak Oil." The Agenda for the meeting included the great Dr. Paul MacCready as well as leading experts in the field from NASA, Boeing, Ricardo and GSE. The talks focused on why and how electric powered PAVs will become important and valuable in the future.
The complete meeting agenda and PowerPoint presentations are available here.
CAFE engineers Steve Williams and Scott Nevin are volunteering their expert design talent to create 2 exciting new flight test innovations for the NASA PAV Challenge. One is a state-of-the-art new “UberBarograph” that will have much greater processing speed, signal averaging capability and memory than the already exemplary CAFE Barograph. It will also incorporate an improved graphic user interface, faster responding temp sensor and wireless signal output capability.
The UberBarograph will wirelessly send its data from its strap-on wingtip mount to the cockpit “BlueBox”, a new electronic data receiver/compiler/transmitter designed expressly for the NASA PAV Challenge. The BlueBox will be able to send multiple channels of data by telemetry from the aircraft being tested to the CAFE Flight Test Center. Its range of several miles will allow the CAFE team to get near-instant results of how the competing PAVs are performing.
Boeing Phantom Works chooses Dr. Seeley as Speaker
Leaders at Boeing Phantom Works have asked CAFE President Dr. Brien Seeley to be one of several keynote speakers at the SAE General Aviation Technology Conference in Los Angeles in September. Dr. Seeley will present a lecture entitled, “Progress in PAVs”, with an emphasis on the enabling technologies of flying cars.
CAFE Foundation's PAV Challenge webpage gets hot!
In a good-news/bad-news development, the number of hits on the CAFE web-page has exploded in popularity. This caused our site to exceed its GB traffic limit and incur extra charges. The interest level is so high that CAFE was forced to remove its very popular romantic movie, “Race to the Future” from the site. It will be made available soon by other means. The burgeoning interest in PAVs coincides with rising fuel prices, longer airline delays, and growing interest in alternative fueled vehicles.
New NASA PAV Challenge rules posted
A number of updates, changes and clarifications have been added to the PAV Challenge rules posted [here]. The changes , now officially approved by NASA HQ, make the rules more inclusive and close some loop-holes that were identified by our rules-sleuthing teams. The detailed event outline is soon to be posted here, and this will spell out the exact sequence and flight test preparation stages for each of the pentathlon events that comprise the PAV Challenge.
Air Force will lead in bio-fuel conversion
CAFE's Dr. Brien Seeley was selected to be among 100 aerospace leaders attending SAE's Aerospace in the News Symposium in San Diego on March 15. There, Brigadier General Charles R. Davis announced that the Secretary of the US Air Force has issued a mandate to convert our fleet of Air Force aircraft to bio-fuel in the next few years. Tests using bio-fuel in a B-52 have proven trouble-free and will soon be extended to other aircraft. One speaker stated that 'aviation does not want to be the last one supporting conventional oil'.
UAVs were a main topic of the meeting, and the technology overlaps between UAVs and PAVs were quite apparent. Leaders from Lockheed-Martin, Grumman-Northrop and Boeing, among others were expecting major future market opportunities to emerge around UAV and PAV development.
GSE progressing with bio-fueled GA engines
Greg Stevenson continues to make great progress in developing bio-fueled engines for GA. He reported in late March that the 6 cylinder engine has been built in both air and liquid cooled version. It rivals the 100 BHP Rotax but is about 20 pounds lighter, even including its belt-drive propeller speed reducer unit. Able to run bio-diesel as well as Jet A, this small engine is said to be capable of bsfc of 0.40 lb/hp-hr. CAFE expects Greg to be overwhelmed with request from teams in the PAV Challenge to use one of these engines in the flight competition.
Greg has also taken steps toward being able to convert conventional GA engines to run on Jet A by way of cylinder head modifications. His other small bio-fueled engines are of 6 BHP and 55 BHP and the 55 BHP model weighs only 45 pounds!
CAFE engineers creating flight test gear
CAFE engineers Steve Williams and Scott Nevin are designing and building new, state-of-the-art flight test hardware for the NASA PAV Challenge. These miniature computerized devices will record and transmit to the CAFE Flight Test Center via telemetry the flight performance data of each competing aircraft. Automated software will convert the data real-time into analyzed results.
Noise Prize grows to $50K!
After extensive discussion, CAFE and NASA agreed to increase the amount of the PAV Noise Prize to $50,000. This is a winner take all prize that averages both the Community Noise and the Cabin Noise of the competing PAVs. The PAV science archive posted [here] is rich with ideas on how to achieve lower noise levels, and we expect many teams to place high priority on this part of the 2007 PAV Challenge.
FAA to work with CAFE!
CAFE's Brien Seeley and David Lynch gave a 90 minute presentation to assembled Federal Aviation Administration officials on March 22 in Oakland to describe the safety aspects of the NASA PAV Challenge. The FAA was extremely helpful and receptive, and provided a number of good suggestions for how to facilitate the competition. FAA will provide expert staffing at the event in August.
Aerospace in the News
CAFE Foundation President Dr. Brien Seeley was among the aerospace leaders selected to participate in the 2007 Aerospace in the News Conference in San Diego on March 15. There he will join a small number of leaders from major aerospace companies, the DoD and NASA to discuss the impact of future trends on aviation. The topics will include the impact of oil prices, incorporation of UAVs into U.S. Airspace, sustainability of the aerospace business model and NASA's future aeronautical initiatives. Dr. Seeley will represent the PAV sector in these discussions. See: http://www.sae.org/events/ain/.
CAFE receives NASA Approval for 2007 PAV Challenge
On November 6, 2006, NASA Headquarters officially approved the Team Agreement and Rules for the 2007 Personal Air Vehicle Challenge. This opens the event for registration of teams who plan to compete for the $250,000 in prizes. The dates for the 2007 event are August 4-12. Download the rules [here].
CAFE receives "Notice of Interest" letters for PAV Challenge
Several teams that are planning on entering the 2007 PAV Challenge have sent in their Notice of Interest Letters to CAFE to obtain priority in being accepted into the competition. Only 16 teams can be accepted. CAFE will soon announce more news about teams entering the event.
Dr. Brien A. Seeley M.D receives Award
CAFE Foundation President, Dr. Brien A. Seeley M.D., was selected by peers at SAE International's General Aviation Technology Conference and Exhibition in Wichita, KS, August 31, 2006, to receive an "Award of Excellence" for his Oral Presentation entitled, "The PAV Challenge, NASA's 'moonshot for aeronautics'".
Dr. Seeley's presentation attracted a very large audience of aerospace and general aviation engineers and prompted a lively discussion among the experts in attendance.
PAV Technology Pavilion at AirVenture 2006
The first ever PAV Technology Pavilion at EAA AirVenture was a major attraction this year. The most important of NASA's PAV sector technology projects assembled exhibits in the pavilion that showed visitors the amazing capabilities that future PAVs will embody. Included in the pavilion were:
- Carter Copter (VTOL, high speed PAV with high-G landing gear and scimitar propeller)
- GSE Engineering (Several new mid-compression multi-fuel diesel engines)
- University of Iowa (NASA low cost synthetic vision demonstrator)
- Munro & Associates (Laser horizon, pistonfan blade prototypes, cutaway Corvette powerplant, laser weld/bond fuselage, and Michigan SATS model)
- Barnaby Wainfan (Facetmobile demonstration and scale model)
- Terrafugia (The Transition roadable LSA)
- CAFE Foundation (Race to the Future movie debut, NASA Tailfan model)
More news and photos [here].
CAFE at Oshkosh 2006
Personal Aircraft Design Academy Symposium
Dr. Brien Seeley served as Program Chair for this year's Personal Aircraft Design Academy Symposium, which met Friday night July 28, 2006 at 7:30 PM in the Vette Theater of the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, WI. An excellent program on High Lift Devices and a new Corvette Powered 5 seat PAV was presented. The perpetual PADA Trophy was presented by PADA board member Todd Hodges to Alan Klapmeier of Cirrus Design.
CAFE in Popular Mechanics
The cover article on the July 2006 issue of Popular Mechanics is entitled "How You'll Fly" and presents a glimpse of the future of personal aviation. The article quotes CAFE President Dr. Brien Seeley describes the concept of computer-assisted piloting. Read the article [here]
CAFE at Society of Automotive Engineers
CAFE Foundation President Dr. Brien Seeley will be presenting details about the NASA-sponsored Personal Air Vehicle Centennial Challenge at the Wichita Kansas SAE General Aviation Conference. For more information click [here].
CAFE V.P. Dr. Larry Ford at Golden West FlyIn
On June 10, 2006 the CAFE plans for the NASA PAV Challenge were presented to the crowd of EAA enthusiasts at the Golden West FlyIn in Marysville, CA.
CAFE attends Aviation Industry Week
On March 29, 2006 CAFE Directors Jo Dempsey and Mike Fenn represented the CAFE Foundation at Aviation Industry Week in Las Vegas, NV.
CAFE at NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C.
On March 14 and 15, 2006 Dr. Brien Seeley and Steve Williams attended the first annual NASA Allied Organization Summit at NASA HQ. All the Centennial Challenge host organizations met with NASA leaders to collaborate in planning the important future technology prizes from NASA.