Eagle Flight Research Center’s ‘Quiet Flight’ Team Joins Top Finalists in Ford Competition

An Embry-Riddle team earned finalist status in the Ford College Community Challenge (Ford C3). They will now go head to head with competitors at Harvard University, Yale University, the University of Michigan, Carnegie Mellon, the University of California, Los Angeles and other top institutions.

The winning Embry-Riddle entry, emerging from the Eagle Flight Research Center (EFRC), focused on clean, quiet flight technologies, and in particular, the eSpirit of St. Louis, a lightweight, battery-powered aircraft. Outfitted with a fully electric propulsion system, the eSpirit is a Diamond HK-36 donated by Lockheed Martin Skunkworks. Converting the aircraft’s motor glider to fully electric power is the focus of the EFRC team’s Ford C3 project.

Graduate student Tony Zhao leads the eSpirit project, under the supervision of EFRC Director Pat Anderson, in partnership with Powering Imagination CEO Erik Lindbergh. The goal, Zhao wrote in his Ford C3 project description, is to “reduce aircraft fuel consumption, noise and emissions, primarily through electric propulsion.”

The Ford Community College Challenge rewards unique solutions for “Making Lives Better.” Established in 2008, the competition seeks to “empower college students to inspire community-building projects addressing pressing local needs.”

Up to ten winning Ford C3 finalists will be selected to receive $25,000 grants. Winners will be announced in fall 2017.



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