The winner of the 100,000 Euro Berblinger Flight Competition was declared on Sunday 17 April, in the Ulm town hall. In all, 36 participants competed for the prize, which focussed on the use of innovative, ecological and resource-saving technologies. Of the 36 applications received, 24 aircraft were initially admitted to the competition. 13 aircraft started successfully; due to insufficient financial backing, technical difficulties or the absence of the appropriate flying licenses the remaining competitors were not able to take part in the practical phaes of the competition, which was carried out at the AERO global for general aviation , in Friedrichshafen. Eight participants successfully completed the exercise of flying from Friedrichshafen to Ulm, including the winner of the competition.
In an extremely exciting competition, the participating aircraft were evaluated on several days by an independent jury comprising experts from the aerospace industry, representatives of universities and research institutes, aviation historians and representatives of the town of Ulm. The parameters innovation, environmental friendliness, flight performance and practicality were thoroughly tested, showing the great innovation of this branch. In the end, two competitors were awarded an equal number of points.
The jury thus decided to award two prizes and a special prize. In this way, three development projects with totally different technical characteristics were honoured. The Antares 20 E, a self-launching high-performance motor glider, using a new concept of a low-noise, ecological propulsion system, was awarded 45,000. Euro. 45,000 Euro also went to the Sunseeker II, a solar-powered, light-weight construction motor glider that has demonstrated in an excellent manner that long duration flights powered solely by solar power are possible. A special prize of 10,000 Euro was awarded to the constructors of the ultra-light hang-glider for their success in equipping economically priced sport aircrafts with electrical propulsion. If the energy consumption of this prize winner is converted into diesel, then it would lie somewhere between zero and 0.38 litres/100 kilometre of flight.
"All participants have shown how much pioneering spirit of Albrecht Berblinger they have in them", said Ulm´s senior Mayor, Ivo Gönner, during the award ceremony. "We have seen many innovative constructions, impressive solutions for new propulsion systems that will certainly have an impact on civil aviation in the future" The presentation of the Berblinger competition at the AERO provided much publicity within the aviation industry and the international speciality press for the participants and for the town of Ulm. "In conversations with visitors and participants, the town of Ulm was especially commended for its efforts towards innovative propulsion design, particularly for electrically powered aircraft" said Professor Otto Künzel, chairman of the jury. "We are very pleased that we have been able to provide essential impulses towards the development of resource-saving, innovative pioneering aircraft and propulsion systems, as well as their realisation by means of the solar flight competition in 1996, the construction competition for innovative flight in 2006 and the Berblinger Flight Competition in 2011", said Ivo Gönner.
The prize given to Antares 20 E rewards not only the concept of a self-launching, high performance motor glider, certified according to the strict European aviation standards, but also acknowledges Axel Langer himself, pioneer of electric propulsion systems for motor gliders, who, despite many setbacks and in the spirit of Berblinger, did not abandon his aims and ambitions.
The Antares 20 E, excellently piloted in the competition by Stefan Senger is a high performance glider, with a wing span of 20 meters that, powered by a 42 Kilowatt electric motor, takes off into the air extremely quietly. This new innovative propulsion concept represents the state of the art in glider construction. It is the only aircraft with this type of propulsion that fulfils the strict EASA certification requirements. It uses lithium-ion-batteries that allow powered flight for more than one hour. The batteries are quickly re-chargeable and have a life-expectancy of about 20 years or 3,000 charge cycles in normal gliding operations. About 70 of these gliders have already been sold and delivered. After initial problems with this technology it is now regarded as technically mature.
The prize to Eric Raymond marks a further award in recognition of the contributions of this pioneer of solar flight towards the global development of purely solar powered aircraft .This ranks him alongside such prominent names as Paul McCready, Günther Rochelt and Prof. Voith-Nitschmann´s team at the University of Stuttgart , winner of the Berblinger Prize in 1996. In the last 20 years, the one-seater Sunseeker II, with a wing span of 15 meters, has proven to be a suitable test vehicle for solar cells. The concept of the two seater Sunseeker Duo, also shown at the AERO in Friedrichshafen by Eric Raymond, heralds the next generation of solar powered aircraft.
The Swift-light Electric belongs to the low-budget, ultra light sports class. The purchase price is approximately 30.000 Euro and allows a wide range of enthusiasts to enjoy a pleasurable flight without notable noise pollution. The battery can be charged within 15 minutes, making numerous flights per day possible. Without thermics, the endurance is 20 to 30 minutes. The innovative propulsion concept is based on that of Dr. Werner Eck, a pioneer of electric propulsion for ultra light aircraft. The award to Manfred Ruhmer for his Swift-light Electric is a public acknowledgment of the efforts of the ultra light aviation industry towards developing environmentally friendly propulsion systems. The 10 Kilowatt motor weighs only 3.7 kilogrammes.
Main events of the programme commemorating the 200th anniversary of Albrecht Ludwig Berblinger´s flight attempt were:
Exhibition: TAKE-OFF – The vision of flying
Fri May 06 to Sun Nov 13, 2011
What drives us forward? What keeps us on the ground? Visions and experiments were the common thread through this exhibition, which bound together the dream of flying with questions about its future. It aims to encourage visitors to contemplate our ideas of mobility. What is the connection between take-off, landing and crash? What happens physically when man flies, how did the pioneers of the past shape the history of flight? How can you remain in the air for as long as possible? What happens behind the scenes on a commercial passenger aircraft? What fuels will we use in the future? What technologies are being researched? And do we meanwhile prefer to remain earth-bound? The exhibition was completed by numerous media and interactive elements and a extensive supporting programme of events.
Celebration weekend: 200 years Friedrichsau Park Ulm and Bergblinger’s attempt to fly
Fri May 27 to Sun May 29, 2011
Two anniversaries were celebrated with an extensive programme of events during this weekend in Friedrichsau Park and the Adlerbastei: 200 years ago, King Friedrich 1st gave the Friedrichsau Park to the people of Ulm. In honour of his visit, Berblinger performed his attempt to fly across the Danube.
Numerous other events took part during the year.