Although the X-Racers will carry enough fuel for only four minutes of powered flight, the engines could be shut off and reignited repeatedly during races, allowing the pilots to time their boosts to critical moments and then coast down from their top speeds until the boost was needed again. Those projected top speeds weren´t provided at the press conference, but, based on the EZ-Rocket´s performance, they will probably be in the 250mph range. That doesn´t sound particularly fast, but for a small aircraft on a closed course, it will certainly challenge the pilots.
The league expects to execute two demonstrations in 2006: a set of preliminary flights at the Reno Air Races in Nevada in September and a full race at the X Prize Cup symposium in New Mexico in October. The first full season of races, featuring 10 teams and an undisclosed number of races, will begin in 2007. The effort is being financed by private investors and the team leaders, including Whitelaw, who, as president of the league, is also leveraging his Indy â€car-racing and management experience to help create the series.
The key question is whether the league can succeed commercially (the 41-year-old Reno Air Races have had a difficult time attracting large mainstream sponsors). But Diamandis and Whitelaw argue that the RRL series will be much more accessible to public fans than the once-yearly Reno event, and the high-tech element will draw spectators. New broadcast techniques will display live track and vehicle information for home viewers, and spectators will be able to supplement their experience with handheld PDAs that will receive in-cockpit and wing-mounted camera feeds from their favorite racers. Additionally, fans will be able to â€participateâ€ in races via videogame links that will allow them to compete in real-time against the actual racers. All this, the pair hope, will draw large corporate sponsors and keep the teams flying.single page
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.