Lindbergh Grant in Aviation Awarded to Randall Fishman

Project to Focus on Electric Propulsion of a Two-Seat Aircraft

MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. (July 27, 2009) — The Lindbergh Foundation announced today that Randall Fishman, of Cliffside Park, N.J., has been awarded a 2009 Lindbergh Grant in Aviation for his project entitled, “Using Electric Propulsion in a Two-Seat Aircraft to Make Extended Flight Economical and Pollution Free.”

Global warming, air and noise pollution, and liquid fuel shortages are major factors facing the world today.  They are also of major concern to the aviation industry.  Gasoline-powered engines used in aviation are inefficient at producing mechanical power from fuel.  Only 25% of the energy is used to propel the airplane, the rest is wasted in the form of heat, vibration and noise.  To address these issues, Fishman plans to build a two-seat airplane, with some baggage space, which would be propelled solely by an electric motor and electronic motor control.  The on-board 220-volt battery charger will be able to recharge the battery packs in three hours or less, and can be used with a 110-volt outlet, if necessary.  This proposed electric propulsion plane would allow pilots to fly quietly on approximately $2 of electricity per two-hour flight, at current rates.  The aircraft will produce no local air pollution, reduce noise to nearly zero, produce almost no carbon footprint and use no oil or gasoline.  The results from this project will demonstrate that practical electric flight is possible today and may inspire others to begin converting to electric for at least a portion of the airplanes produced.  If well received, electric aircraft could offer new ways for people to travel short-to-medium distances and if widely adopted, they would contribute to a cleaner, quieter environment.

Fishman received one of eight Lindbergh grants awarded so far this year.  He was chosen from 133 applicants from around the world.  Lindbergh Grants are made in amounts up to $10,580, a symbolic amount representing the cost of building Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the Spirit of St. Louis, in 1927.  To date, nearly $3 million has been awarded to 300 researchers.

“Today’s students will share this planet with more than 8 billion people.  If we are to sustain our species and our planet, it is imperative that we make full use of the one expandable resource available to us:  human intelligence,” said Gregg Maryniak, Chairman of the Grants Committee and Vice Chairman of the Foundation.  “The Lindbergh Grants program attracts researchers who are passionate about the environment and about finding solutions to protect and sustain our world.”

“As an unknown in aviation, Charles Lindbergh struggled to find the financial backing he needed to pursue his dream of making a non-stop, solo flight from New York to Paris.  The Lindbergh Foundation Grants Program identifies and supports highly creative and dedicated researchers from around the world and provides them with the same opportunity for success as Charles Lindbergh received.  That’s why the Lindbergh Grant is set at $10,580,” said Maryniak.  “Many of our grant recipients are ‘unknown’ in their fields, too.  For them, receiving a Lindbergh Grant provides much-needed credibility to their work and typically enables our recipients to secure additional funding, providing them with valuable leverage.”

The Lindbergh Grants program maintains an excellent reputation among the scientific community and the public sector for supporting exceptional, high-quality projects and dedicated researchers.  Lindbergh grant applications undergo a rigorous five-step review process focused on evaluations by two independent all volunteer review groups, including a 62-member Technical Review Panel.  This international panel is comprised of knowledgeable and respected individuals drawn from the various fields in which Lindbergh grants are made.

The annual deadline for all Lindbergh Grant applications is in mid-June for funding the following year.  The extended deadline for aviation applications is Oct. 30, 2009, with funding in July 2010.  Anyone interested in applying for this grant will find information and a downloadable application on the Internet at:

Fishman will be giving a talk entitled, “Electric Aircraft:  Advantages and Challenges” at the Learning Center, West of the Homebuilt area, on Tuesday, July 28 at 1 p.m.; and Thursday, July 30 and Saturday, August 1, at 11:15 a.m.

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The Lindbergh Foundation is a public 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Minnesota that supports individual innovations that foster the environment for a planet in balance. Its programs are devoted to supporting, honoring, and educating individuals, through the annual Lindbergh Award and the Lindbergh Grants program, which provides grants for research or education projects that will make important contributions to a technology/environment balance.