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Three K-Prize Categories (1/10, 1/4, and Full Scale) with User Group Umbrellas

There will be no quick aviation contest by ARPA-E, because such contests require domain mastery to do right. There is still great merit in well designed competition with a scientific bonanza, so we continue to study this possibility, as the experts. Our open source working name for a "best-standards" contest design is "K-Prize."

Instead of defining winners as the first to generate a certain power-out for a specified period, a more natural aviation contest design is to define competition classes by operational ceiling, weight, and velocity limits. Winners are determined by relative performance within these classes. This arrangement is inherently suitable to collect good data across a large pool of designs. The scale classes below neatly fit the FAA's current partitioning of altitude for AWE.

2000 ft is set in stone (after FAA obstruction regs) as the early AWE era standard commercial ceiling (R&D ops will go far higher). Let us call this "Full-Scale AWES" as sort of major-league utility/commercial scale where only "professionals" operate. EAA would be an ideal aviation group umbrella for this scale, under LSA velocity-mass rules.

500 ft is the current FAA temporary ceiling for our experiments. This slice of airspace would be "Quarter-Scale AWES", nicely constrained within AMA altitude, weight, and speed rules.

200 ft is the "One-Tenth-Scale AWES" bunny slope for small safe AWES experimentation under hybrid AMA/AKA rules. School children could do wonders at this "toy" scale, but quite powerful kite energy rigs can also operate at this scale largely unregulated.

By tying each competition class to a suitable user association, a ready source of help, knowledge, self-regulation, safety training, and even cheap liability insurance is provided. Join the appropriate user group for your AWES R&D (tolerable commercial conditions apply) and help make the new aviation types welcome.

CoolIP*                      ~Dave Santos                 23Dec2011             AWES5185        

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
All, send notes, drawings, and photographs!

Terms and aspects:   

  •  LSA     wiki/Light-sport_aircraft     
  • AMA   Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • AKA    American Kitefliers Association
  • EAA     Experimental Aircraft Association
  • ops    operations
  • FAA     Federal Aviation Administration
  • One-Tenth-Scale AWES   
  • Quarter-Scale AWES
  • Full-Scale AWES

Related links:


Commentary is welcome:

  • Experience, knowledge, skill

*Legal Note: coolIP is hereby defined as a Creative-Commons Unported NonCommercial Share-Alike License, so now we are integrated with the latest standard cooperative IP model, but "coolIP" remains a nice shorthand.