Flight of the electric Demoichelle


June 27, 2010

The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle

The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle

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Despite the 10-15 knot winds cutting across the airfield at Le Bourget in Paris for the Green Air Show, visitors were treated to the wonderful sight of the electric Demoichelle in the air. The treasured creation of the Association for Promotion of Flying Ladders (APEV) the electric monoplane looks as though it was designed by the ghost of Alberto Santos-Dumont himself.

APEV's Charles Donnefort told Gizmag that the electric aircraft on display underneath Concorde (when it wasn't on the airfield) at the Le Salon de l'Aviation Verte in Paris is in fact the same prototype used for the test flights of the group's original combustion-powered Demoichelle in 2009, with a few modifications. The ROTAX engine has been swapped for a reinforced AGNI 112 R electric motor and some Lithium Polymer KOKAM 74V batteries, plus there's a minor size alteration too.

The single spar, 50x100mm aluminum extrusion, wooden reinforced Styrodur rib, composite leading and trailing edge, and DIATEX 1000 covering which makes up the wings has received an extra half a meter on each side to give a little more wing surface, taking the wingspan to over 9 meters (29.5 feet). The actual weight of the e-Demoichelle is almost exactly the same as the thermal version, with the electric motor and the batteries making up for the heavy ROTAX engine.

In common with its predecessor, it stands around 2 meters (6.8 feet) tall and is just over 5 meters (17.3 feet) in length with the pilot sitting below the wing. The stall speed is marginally different, the electric version now between 35 and 40 kph (21.7/24.8 mph) but the maximum speed is still 120 km/h (74.5 mph) although the pilot usually takes things a little easier, with an average cruising speed of around 70kph (43.3 mph).

In the coming months APEV will be busying themselves creating a two-seater biplane (the Hydrochel) and a modern replica of the Piper Cub (the Cubchel). The electric Demoichelle's next public appearance will be in September at the Salon ULM Blois.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

I wonder what sort of noise it would make? I bet it\'s a pleasant piece of kit to fly. I do believe I LOVE this

Craig Jennings

It is innovators such as these that will eventually get us away from fossil fuels. We need to support their efforts.

Lawrence Weisdorn

A really interesting item, and better still....two positive comments for a change!


So, how did this guy charge is batteries? I\'ll bet it was not a very green charging solution. Unless he has a huge bank of solar panels at his disposal (at an equally huge price to entry cost) or a hillside strewn with wind generators, or his grid is powered by one of the increasingly fewer nuclear powerplants, it all comes back to fossil fuels. There just isn\'t the joule per pound capacity in any other power type...period!


So... nobody should ever make anything using new technology because it may not be perfect out of the box? We\'d still be in the stone age if we didn\'t try new things. That\'s truly ridiculous. The cost and therefore energy input to fully charge an electric car is $3 to $5 while it costs that much for only two gallons of gas, so yes, this still saves pollution! This is a step toward using renewable energy resources for even air transport when solar, wind, and wave energy generation is increasing year over year so that in the near future yes, this will be powered by renewable resources and not by polluting fossil fuels. When that is the case there will be electric planes already developed. Seriously... stone age thinking

Mark in MI

Very nice for several reasons. Does anyone know what the range or duration of the batteries is?

Facebook User

Unfortunately this all comes back to the fact that there are almost 7 billion people on this planet and not enough resources to go around.

Facebook User

He charged his batteries where the airshow takes place, of course, which is Paris, which is nuclear powered - so he created about one squillionths of a microgram of pollution in so doing. Ironic that Ed even made that comment about \"green charging\" - given the tiny number of electric flights undertaken worldwide so far, there\'s a very real chance that this flight was in actual fact the most green powered-flight ever flown in history.


That plane reminds me of the one Louis Bleriot used to cross the English channel. Nice to see electricity being used to power planes.

Edgar Walkowsky
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