PC-Aero Displays Electric Aircraft at Friedrichshafen Aero-Expo

pc aero  PC-Aero Displays Electric Aircraft at Friedrichshafen Aero-Expo(Images: Copyright: PC-Aero/Neowings)

Last week, PC-Aero displayed several of their electric aircraft at the 2012 Aero-Expo (the global show for general aviation) in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Present at the event were the Elektra One Solar (flying with solar cells on the wing surface), Elektra Two Standard (a twin-seat electric aircraft with solar cells for flight), Elektra Two Record (a lightweight aircraft designed for record flights), and Elektra Observer LT (an unmanned very light electric aircraft with solar cells for civil surveillance).

pc aero 2  PC-Aero Displays Electric Aircraft at Friedrichshafen Aero-Expo

Last year the PC-Aero Elektra One won the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize during EAA AirVenture 2011 at Oshkosh. For more environmentally friendly electric aircraft, click here.

Flight Design Launches New Electric Aircraft – the CTLSi

Flight Design CTLS  Flight Design Launches New Electric Aircraft – the CTLSi(Image: CLI, cc-sa-3.0-Poland)

German plane manufacturer Flight Design has launched a new electric aircraft that builds on its well established CT (Composite Technology) series. The CTLSi, which comes with an additional $12,800 on the price tag due to a new Rotax 912iS engine, flew for the first time this week.

The announcement was made during a news conference at Sun ‘n Fun. The new engine is expected to deliver fuel savings of 21% at altitude and includes electric trim and a lithium ion battery.

Flight Design CTLS Lite  Flight Design Launches New Electric Aircraft – the CTLSi(Image: Image: Agentblank, cc-sa-3.0)

Flight Design also told AVweb that the company’s C4 project, launched about a year ago, was also moving forward. “Our next big decision is to nail down the avionics,” said marketing director John Doman. “We need to get everything to come together to meet our $250,000 target.”

(The aircraft used for illustration purposes in the lower image is the CTLS Like, introduced in 2010.)

NASA Puffin: Cool Concept, Shame it Never Flew

nasa puffin  NASA Puffin: Cool Concept, Shame it Never Flew(Image: NASA, public domain)

In early 2010 the online realm was buzzing with news of the Puffin, a NASA concept for a one-man personal aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL).  The brainchild of aerospace engineer Mark Moore, the electric aircraft was designed to stand 12 feet high and transport a lone pilot around 50 miles at speeds potentially reaching 150 mph.

NASA built a one-third scale proof-of-concept model in 2010 as a means of exploring new technologies and the transition from cruise to hover flight.  However, the Puffin was never intended to be a production vehicle and despite its potential application – military and/or civilian – and inarguable appeal, the concept shown above never actually flew.

10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean

sunseeker II  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Ccoonnrraadd, cc-sa-3.0)

Electric planes and other green aircraft have become more prevalent in recent times, with the ongoing success of Solar Impulse and Electra One winning the Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize at Oshkosh.  But this environmentally friendly form of aviation has a long pedigree reaching back more than a century, beginning with La France airship in 1883 and extending through the twentieth century with projects like the Gossamer Penguin.  Here are 10 modern electric aircraft that are blazing that trail into the twenty first century.

Boeing-FCD Project

boeing fuel cell demonstrator  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Adambro, cc-sa-3.0)

Developed by the shadowy Phantom Works, the Boeing-FCD (Fuel Cell Demonstrator) Project is a technology demonstrator aiming to develop a fuel cell powered light research aircraft.  The electric plane utilizes a Diamond HK-36 Super Dimona motor glider engine and first flew in February 2008.  Boeing’s partners in FCD Project include UK and Spanish companies.

SpySpark

spyspark  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Dumbo, cc-sa-3.0)

A joint project between DigiSky and Polytechnic University of Berlin, SpySpark is a twin-seat Pioneer Alpi 300 with a 75 kW brushless electric motor powered by lithium polymer batteries.  On June 12, 2009, SpySpark flew into the record books, becoming the fastest manned electric aircraft after reaching speeds of 155 mph.

Colomban Cri-Cri

colomban cri cri  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Guillaume Paumier, cc-3.0)

The Colomban Cri-Cri (designed in the 1970s) is the smallest twin-engined manned aircraft in the world, but this 2010 overhaul by the European aerospace company (EADS) saw the ultralight vintage plane reborn with four electric engines.  Powered by lithium batteries, the Cri-Cri (short for cricket) can fly for 30 minutes at 60 kn or 15 minutes of aerobatics with a climb rate of 1,000 feet per minute.  This low cost design will support EADS research into hybrid propulsion for helicopters.

ElectraFlyer

electra flyer  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Armchair Aviator, cc-3.0)

Equipped with a 5.6 kW lithium-ion polymer battery powering an electric motor, the Electraflyer can remain aloft for between one and two hours.  Charging takes around five hours with a standard 120 volt outlet but can be reduced to two hours using 240 volts.  Accessories even include a ballistic parachute, and the total weight comes in at just 249 pounds.

Sonex Aircraft

sonex xenos  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: TimothyMN, cc-3.0)

In 2007 Sonex Aircraft announced a series of alternative power initiatives including the development of an electric aircraft.  The Waiex motor glider first flew in 2010, powered by a 54 kW brushless DC electric motor run off 14.5 kW-hour lithium polymer batteries.  The aircraft can fly for one hour at low speed and manage 15 minutes of aerobatics.  The electric aircraft pictured above is the Sonex Xenos, a development of the Waiex.

Yuneec International E430

Yuneec International E430  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Caleb Howell (see CalebandBrittany.com), cc-nc-sa-3.0)

This twin-seat Chinese V tailed aircraft, constructed from composite materials with high-aspect ratio wing, was introduced in 2009 as a homebuilt aircraft for the U.S. market.  The Yuneec International E430 runs on battery packs which – the company claims – have a lifespan of 1,500 hours at a cost of $7,000 each.  Operating three to five battery packs gives the electric aircraft around two hours flight time, while the production plane is expected to cost $89,000.

Flightstar e-Spyder

Flightstar e Spyder  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: FlugKerl2, cc-sa-3.0)

Developed by Flightstar Sportplanes in cooperation with Yuneec, the Flightstar e-Spyder is an electric version of the earlier Spyder ultralight.  Powered by a 20 kW electric motor and two 28 lb lithium-polymer battery packs, the aircraft has a 40 minute endurance.  First exhibited at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2009, the Flightstar e-Spyder homebuilt aircraft is set to cost $25,000.

Lange Antares 20E

lange antares 20e  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: Stahlkocker, cc-sa-3.0)

This self-launching motor glider is powered by a 42 kW electric motor and lithium-ion batteries.  Featuring a twin-blade fixed pitch propeller, the Lange Antares 20E can climb to almost 10,000 feet and can function as a conventional glider after launch.  Fifty had been produced as of January 2010.

PC-Aero Elektra One

pc aero elektra one  10 Electric Aircraft that Help Keep the Environment Clean(Image: FlugKerl2, cc-sa-3.0)

This single-seat composite aircraft – a development of a commercial electric aircraft design by PC-Aero – made its maiden flight in early 2011.  Powered by a 16 kW electric motor, the Elektra One has a top speed of 100 mph and an endurance of three hours.  The German plane won the coveted Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize at EAA AirVenture (Oshkosh) 2011 – read more.

Sunseeker II (Top Image)

Originally built in 2002, the Sunseeker II was an updated of an earlier solar powered plane that first flew in the 1990s.  Equipped with a more powerful motor and larger wing, it was the only manned solar powered aircraft in flying condition as of 2008, and in 2009 became the first solar powered plane to cross the Alps.  The event marked 99 years since the first airborne crossing of the Alps in 1910.

Elektra One Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize at Oshkosh

elektra one  Elektra One Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize at Oshkosh(Image: Shahn Sederberg)

The Elektra One performed a demoflight during EAA AirVenture 2011 in Oshkosh on Saturday, July 30, demonstrating the electric aircraft’s high – and completely silent – performance. The demonstration helped German company PC-Aero, which developed the plane, cement its bid for the coveted Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize.

elektra one 2  Elektra One Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize at Oshkosh(Image: Jean-Marie Urlacher/Info-Pilot, via PC-Aero)

Designed by Calin Gologan and with a range of 500 km, the Elektra One is a single-seat electric aircraft capable of flying with batteries for up to four hours. The plane works in conjunction with a Solar Hangar (known as SunAirport), sponsored by SolarWorld, one of the world’s largest solar panel companies.

elektra one 3  Elektra One Wins Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize at Oshkosh(Image: Michael Mularski, SolarWorld)

Practically silent, Elektra One uses only 6 kW per hour and combines zero emissions with low operating costs. Treehugger reported in March that the company hoped to commercialise its technology: “The complete system (Aircraft + Solar-Hangar) will come on the market for less than 100.000 EUR. The operation cost per hour is less than 35 EUR or 0.2 EUR/km.”

(All images reproduced courtesy of PC-Aero)