Electric plane takes flight in Germany


An electric powered plane recently lifted off the ground in two test flights that took place in Augsburg, Germany.

Designed by PC-Aero, the Elektra One is a small, slender plane that weighs nearly 100 kilograms (220 pounds) when empty, and also carries 100 kilograms worth of batteries. The plane can hold a maximum additional weight of 300 kg.

The goal is to create a plane that has the endurance of a three-hour flight. Based on other electric aircraft designs, it is estimated that a three-hour flight is equivalent to more than 400 km, or approximately 250 miles.

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With an aerodynamic, single seat design the Elektra One should be able to reach this flight goal.

A quieter plane?
PC-Aero has designed this electric plane to help meet the noise restrictions and emission standards in Germany and other European counties.

Though the noise created by electric airplanes is already minimized, the company says that at cruise speeds the propeller spins at only 1,400 RPM in order to further dampen noise.

Actually, PC-Aero’s CEO Calin Gologan hopes that the plane will exceed this three-hour goal.

The Elektra’s first flight took off with Jon Karkow behind the wings. Karkow, a former Scaled Composites test pilot and engineer, flew higher than 500 meters (1,640 feet) and drained about half of the 6 kilowatt hours available in the batteries.

German test pilot Norbert Lorenze securely flew the second lift-off, and remained in flight for 30 minutes before landing.

PC-Aero plans to continue running flight tests, as well as exploring other variables that include endurance, cruise speed, a variable pitch propeller, and retractable landing gear.

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Zero emissions flight plan
Additionally, the plane is part of a zero emissions flight plan that Gologan is developing. The plan includes a solar powered hangar that will store the aircraft (one which has a wingspan of just over 28 feet).

With 20 square meter of solar cells (215 sq. ft.) Gologan thinks the Elektra One could fly 300 hours a year based on the sunlight for southern Germany.

He hopes to sell the airplane, hangar and power package for less than 100,000 Euros ($140,000).

The Elektra One will be on display at Aero Friedrichshafen in April and is expected to compete in the green flight challenge in July.

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