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Experimental Electric aircraft hold promise for cheap and clean travel

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Well-known member
Nov 28, 2001
From the Pilotbug blog

Recent developments in electric motors, storage devices and controllers are now beginning to enable conventionally piloted aircraft to be powered solely by electricity. Several aircraft which were originally designed to use an internal combustion engine are now being converted to use electric power alone. On its inaugural flight, SkySpark, based on the Italian designed Pioneer Alpi 300, set a speed record of 135 knots.

Sonex Aircraft, along with partner AeroConversions, has launched the e-Flight Initiative, which is converting a Sonex Waiex using a purpose built dc brushless motor and controller to power the aircraft. The airplane, which has yet to fly, is estimated to reach 130 knots and have a range of approximately 30 minutes.

Boeing has been experimenting with an electric Diamond Super Dimona HK-36, but using a hydrogen fuel cells to supplement the batteries. During test flights, the batteries were totally disconnected and the Dimona was powered exclusively by the fuel cells alone. The fuel cells, developed by Boeing Research & Technology Europe (BR&TE) in Madrid, Spain, kept the plane straight and level for 20 minutes.

Yuneec International’s E430 recently made its first flight with 4 successive hops of about a minute each. The Chinese LSA category craft, which is designed to have battery power to remain aloft for 1.5 to 2 hours, will continue its flight testing in Camarillo, CA in the next couple of weeks. It is expected to then be displayed at AirVenture 2009, EAA’s annual gathering of aircraft and aviators, at the end of July.
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I like the idea of an electric powered self-launching motor glider.

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