The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) introduced a new Founder’s Innovation Prize to encourage ideas that will enhance safety in amateur-built aircraft. The designer of the winning idea will receive a $25,000 cash prize, with the second-place winner receiving $10,000 and third place $5,000.
The annual prize will have a specific safety focus each year, with the upcoming year emphasizing the design and development of a low-cost solution that recognizes imminent loss of control (LOC) in aircraft and provides an innovative way of increasing situational awareness or automation to the pilot.
The competition’s judging criteria and timeline is also innovative. Entrants will focus on cost, ease of installation, simplicity, wide applicability, and effectiveness in reducing loss-of-control occurrences.
Entries will be accepted beginning October 1, 2015. The top five entries will be invited to a Theater in the Woods presentation at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2016, where judges that include notable names in homebuilt aircraft will review and critique the top five innovations in a live, “Shark Tank”-style program. The judging panel will be led by chief judge and legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan.
Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice-president of advocacy and safety said, “This is not a one-year concept; it will be a yearly, ongoing competition that encourages safety innovation for amateur-built aircraft and general aviation.
“We challenge EAA members and chapters to use the ‘hand, mind, and heart’ credo of EAA’s founder, Paul Poberezny, to continually move the safety standard higher and again show how the ingenuity of the homebuilt aircraft community can efficiently make flying better and safer for all of us.”