EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize Competition Closes June 15

Contest focuses on cutting the risk loss of control in amateur-built aircraft.

EAA Founder Innovation Award
Ihab Awad (center) earned the 2016 EAA Founder's Innovation Prize with his entry “Airball,” continually synthesized flight data that allows a pilot to quickly make sense of the current flight state of their aircraft.EAA

There’s still time for aviation’s doers, dreamers and innovators to see their bright ideas become one of five finalists in this year’s EAA Founder’s Innovation Prize competition, although the June 15 deadline is fast approaching.

The second annual competition, hosted by the Experimental Aircraft Association and Airbus, again welcomes ideas to counter loss-of-control accidents in amateur-built aircraft. The top 2017 innovation idea will be awarded $25,000 at this year’s AirVenture, with additional cash prizes for second and third place.

The inaugural 2016 competition drew more than 140 entries covering a wide spectrum of proposed solutions. Ihab Awad of San Jose, California, earned the top prize with his entry “Airball,” continually synthesized flight data that allows a pilot to quickly make sense of the current flight state of their aircraft.

This year’s panel of judges consists of former NASA astronaut Charlie Precourt, noted safety investigator Gregory Feith, aerobatic performer Michael Goulian, test pilot Dave Morss and Van’s aircraft founder Dick VanGrunsven.

Finalists should expect to make no more than a 10-minute presentation using working models, representations, media and other materials, as well as be prepared to answer judges’ questions. Individual contestants must appear in person and team finalists need at least one team member present.

The top five entries will be chosen by July 15 and invited to showcase their idea at a Shark Tank-style public presentation at AirVenture's Theatre in the Woods on the evening of July 25. Complete rules and an application are available online.