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Pulitzer race to resume in May

The National Aeronautic Association will host a four-day, 1,000-nautical-mile air race for electric aircraft in May, resuming the renowned races that began in the 1920s.

Photo courtesy of Beta Technologies.

Calling back to the original six Pulitzer races, conducted between 1920 and 1925, The Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race has the same goal: to inspire aeronautical innovation. It will be the first Pulitzer race exclusively open to electric aircraft.

"Piloted aerodynes of all types" are encouraged to enter the race, as long as the aircraft uses electric propulsion. This includes, but is not limited to, fixed-wing airplanes, helicopters, or multi-rotor electric vertical takeoff and landing advanced air mobility vehicles.

"A cross-country race will require careful logistical planning from the race teams and highlight different electric propulsion technology choices and operational strategies such as rapid battery charging, whole battery changes, and solar power augmentation to extend range," reads the event page on the NAA website. "As a long distance, multi-day cross-country event open to all classes and types of electric aircraft, we have designed the Pulitzer Electric Aircraft Race to provide an open canvas for design innovations and be a flying expo for the electric aviation industry."

Pilots will take off from Eppley Airfield in Omaha, Nebraska, travel 1,000 miles, and land for the finish at Dare County Regional Airport near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Since the participating aircraft may still be in a research and development phase, it will be a day-only, visual flight rules race. The winning team will be determined based on cumulative flight time—not including time on the ground for maintenance, charging, or overnight stays. General race rules, eligibility information, and more can be found here.

Race winner(s) can look forward to being the first in nearly 100 years to win the Pulitzer Trophy, which is currently in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

Scott Neumann, director of the Pulitzer Aircraft Race, announced via LinkedIn that preregistration for the race is now open, and Beta Technologies, a Vermont company developing the Alia eVTOL, was the first to register.

Lillian Geil
Communications Specialist
Communications Specialist Lillian Geil is a student pilot and a graduate of Columbia University who joined AOPA in 2021.
Topics: Electric, Air Racing

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