These days Pipistrel is celebrating a very important anniversary: it is now exactly 10 years since our third NASA GREEN FLIGHT CHALLENGE victory.
The NASA CAFE Green Flight Challenge in the USA took place from 25 September through 3 October 2011.
In that week, the Pipistrel Taurus G4, world’s first fully electric 4-seat aircraft, accomplished a flight of almost 200 miles (321.9 km) non-stop with the average speed of 107.4 mph (172.8 km/h). At the time, this was the longest flight of any electric aircraft. The winner got awarded a 1.3 million USD reward, which was higher than the Nobel prize and it is still the highest monetary award in aviation, ever. The entire world automotive industry still hasn’t managed to develop an electric car which would take 4 people 200 miles with the average speed over 100 miles per hour.
The 2011 NASA Green Flight Challenge marked a historic achievement in aviation—the first demonstration of practical, cross-country emission-free flight. Team Pipistrel-USA’s winning 4 seat, electric-powered aircraft, the Taurus G4, proved its efficiency by achieving mileage of 403.5 passenger-MPG equivalent! (click HERE for results).
The Taurus G4 was developed specifically for the Pipistrel team to race at the Green Flight Challenge in Santa Rosa, California. All components of the aircraft have been developed and made by Pipistrel.
The twin-fuselage plane was created by combining two Taurus G2 fuselages, connected by a 5-meter-long spar. A 145-kilowatt brushless electric motor, developed for the Pipistrel’s 4-seat aircraft Panthera, was mounted between the passenger pods and drove a 2-meter-diameter, two-blade propeller in tractor configuration. The undercarriage was retractable which enabled good gliding ratio and low drag. The Taurus G4’s full wingspan was about 21.36 meters (75 feet).
More info about the aircraft HERE.
At the race, the aircraft was flown by two of the most famous American test pilots: Dave Morss and Robin Reid.
The second place was claimed by the team E-genius of the University in Stuttgart. This meant a double victory for Pipistrel, who has been team E-Genius’s development partner. Their aircraft was actually a modified Pipistrel Taurus (wings and fuselage) with a specially developed tail section and an electric propulsion system in the tail. So in a way, Pipistrel’s aircraft claimed both the first and the second place!
Because of this amazing achievement, the team Pipistrel was honoured greatly when they returned to the homeland. The president dr. Danilo Turk decorated Pipistrel with the Golden Order for Services to the Republic of Slovenia.
Taurus G4 was even featured on the front page of the NASA website.
They say history repeats itself, right?
Almost to the day 5 years later, the Taurus G4 aircraft became the star of all the media once again.
Pipistrel was one of the partners in the “HY4” project – the world’s first four-seat passenger aircraft powered by a zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell propulsion.
The aircraft accomplished a successful first public flight on 29. September 2016.
Left: Team of NASA 2011 GFC in front of the Taurus G4
Right: Pipistrel team with the HY4 in 2016