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EAA unveils new Founder's Innovation Prize competition to introduce new safety technology
Annual cash prizes part of competition for amateur-built aircraft concepts

EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wisconsin — (July 22, 2015) — The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) today introduced a new Founder’s Innovation Prize competition that will encourage innovation to enhance safety in amateur-built aircraft. It will use the best ideas from EAA members and chapters, with the encouragement of cash prizes for the best emerging technology.

The competition was announced at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh fly-in during a forum that included Christopher Hart, Chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Charlie Precourt, Chairman of the EAA Safety Committee, and Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety. It will also be highlighted at several other forums throughout AirVenture week.

The annual prize will have a specific safety focus each year, with the upcoming year’s goal 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.

“This is about bringing together the best thinking among all our members to improve safety for all of us,” Elliott said. “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.”

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 five innovations in a live, “Shark Tank”-style program. The judging panel will be led by chief judge and legendary aircraft designer Burt Rutan.

The designer of the winning idea will receive a $25,000 cash prize, with the second-place innovation receiving $10,000 and third place $5,000.

“This is not a one-year concept,” Elliott said. “This will be a yearly, ongoing competition that encourages safety innovation for amateur-built aircraft and general aviation. We advance the amateur-built community and all of general aviation by learning from one another and inspiring ideas to move forward.”

About EAA
EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts. EAA’s 190,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft. For more information on EAA and its programs, call 800-JOIN-EAA (800-564-6322) or go to www.eaa.org. For continual news updates, connect with www.twitter.com/EAA.

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