Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ElectriFly 2010

Electric flight is no longer an “if” but a “when”

We’re not even talking about fuel cells or hybrid electric/gas powerplants. Several companies including Boeing (SUGAR Volt airliner concept), General Electric, Cessna and LSA producer Flight Design are working hard on both concepts.

Meanwhile, the regulatory picture moves along. FAA seems favorably disposed to legalize electric power—there’s currently no provision for it. Electric-powered LSA will likely be the first implementation, due to the less encumbered nature of ASTM certification.

The Soul Of Innovation
Randall Fishman blew everybody away just three years ago with his ElectraFlyer ultralight. He followed up with the single-seat kit-plane-style C model and is developing the ElectraFlyer-X, a composite two-seater. Meanwhile a 13-year-old boy is hard at work outfitting an ultralight for electric power. And while neither have the resources of Yuneec, General Electric or even Sonex, don’t count out these one-man design teams just yet: ElectraFlyer-X or the ultralight or another still-obscure endeavor could easily become that lightbulb aircraft moment that changes everything.

In the meantime, someday not long from now, something will catch your eye. You’ll look up to see, rather than hear, an airplane climbing out to the horizon with nary a sound signature to mark its launch. It’ll never gas up at the pump. Never rattle or vibrate with engine noise. It won’t leak oil or require a magneto check or pollute the air. Can you imagine anything quite as sublime, or more thrilling, than that?

Antares 20E

CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium

Eco Marathon

Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prizes

Paris Green Air Show


Sikorsky Firefly

Sonex e-Flight Initiative

Yuneec International


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