When Gizmag paid a visit to the Paris Green Air Show in June, there was one craft on display that seemed to steal the show. The Green Cri aerobatic electric airplane hadn't even left terra firma, yet was surrounded by eager onlookers for much of the time it was there. Now the four-engined prototype has returned to Le Bourget airfield for its maiden flight in the sunny skies above Paris.
The Cri returned to Le Bourget yesterday to undertake its first test flight. Take-off and initial climb were reported to be smooth, the pilot – Didier Esteyne – feeling no vibrations and enjoying good maneuverability. All systems performed without a hitch and the Cri returned to the waiting pool of press photographers some seven minutes later.
Esteyne pointed out that the simple test flight was just the beginning for the Cri and that the team have a lot to learn. "We are allowed to start aerobatic maneuvers only after five hours of flight and 15 landings," he said.
EADS Chief Technical Officer mirrored the pilot's comments, saying that the Cri "is a low-cost test bed for system integration of electrical technologies in support of projects like our hybrid propulsion concept for helicopters. We hope to get a lot of useful information out of this project."
The Cri's counter-rotating propellers are powered by four brushless electric motors and energy dense Lithium batteries. Such technology, combined with its lightweight composite structure, help it to achieve 30 minutes of cruise flight or 15 minutes of speedier aerobatics.