Amateur-aircraft builders who think they have the best low-cost ideas to help pilots avoid imminent loss of control or to increase situational awareness could win some cash for their innovations. The Experimental Aircraft Association on Sept. 10 announced the judges for the Founder’s Innovation Prize competition, first announced at EAA AirVenture 2015 in July, to increase safety for amateur-built aircraft; a panel of well-known judges led by aircraft designer Burt Rutan will decide the winner.
Additional judges include aviation safety speaker and AOPA columnist Rod Machado, former NASA astronaut Charlie Precourt, Van’s Aircraft founder Dick VanGrunsven, and civilian test pilot Dave Morss.
When the competition was introduced at EAA AirVenture in July, safety committee chair Precourt said, “Loss of control is on the top 10 hit list for the NTSB and is the theme for the FAA for this year.”
EAA said the winning individual or team will receive a prize of $25,000; $10,000 will be awarded for second place and $5,000 for third place. Judges will critique entries for cost, simplicity, installation ease, and effectiveness of the solution. Entries open Oct. 1. The top five finalists will show their innovative ideas to the judges during a live presentation at EAA AirVenture in 2016.