A digital flight-condition indicator called Airball won the top award this week in EAA’s new Founder’s Innovation Prize contest. Airball’s creator, Ihab Awad of San Jose, California, goes home from AirVenture with $25,000 after pitching his concept to a panel of celebrity judges, EAA announced. The Innovation Prize, which EAA says will be an annual competition to promote safety in experimental and GA flying, began by inviting participants to present their ideas for reducing loss-of-control accidents. Awad’s invention uses air data fed from sensors to a moving “blue ball” on a primary flight display, where the pilot can gauge conditions such as yaw and angle of attack during all phases of flight.
“Many years ago cars came without seat belts, and nobody gave that a second thought,” Awad told the judges during the final round before an AirVenture audience. “I would like a world where the proper accurate measurement and intuitive visualization of air data in the cockpit is as taken for granted as we take seat belts today.” He was among five finalists chosen to appear in Oshkosh after EAA received 140 submissions for the contest, which was inspired by the aerospace industry’s X Prize.
A description of the Airball concept can be seen here.