e-Genius flies into the record books, averages 100 mph over 211 miles
The e-Genius concept electric aircraft has managed a record-breaking flight of over two hours at an average speed of 100 mph over a distance of 211 miles
Just a couple of weeks after its maiden flight at the end of May, the e-Genius electric aircraft has now winged its way into the record books - managing to stay aloft for over two hours and maintain an average speed of 100 mph (160 kph). Its University of Stuttgart development team are now looking to improve on that performance, ahead of the 2011 Green Flight Challenge for which it was designed.
After taking off from Mindelheim airfield in Germany just before noon on June 15, pilot and production manager Karl Kaeser and systems engineer Steffen Geinitz climbed to 4,000 feet (1,219 meters). They then traveled some 211 miles (340 km) in two hours, taking in Bad Woerishofen and Thannhausen en route, and then landed with some energy to spare in the 56kWh battery pack of the e-Genius concept electric aircraft.
The aircraft was designed and built by a team of students, researchers and workers at the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Aircraft Design, along with outside specialists, and optimized for solar flight pioneer Eric Raymond to pilot at NASA/CAFE's 2011 Green Flight Challenge which runs from September 25 to October 3. Entries will be tested for speed, endurance and fuel efficiency, with the winner taking a top prize of US$1.3 million.
We're still in the very early days of electric aircraft development, but already we are seeing impressive speed and longevity achievements. Technologies pioneered by such projects will doubtless help towards reducing the negative environmental impact of today's air industry.
In related news, pilot Hugues Duval broke his own electric plane speed record in the twin electric motor E-cristaline MC15E Cri-Cri (not to be confused with the Green Cri developed by EADS) at the Paris Air Show recently, clocking up a swift 283 kph (175.8 mph).
About the Author
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
with gas prices going up and the push to \'go green\', this could be good news to light sport pilots and enthusiasts. IMO.
An unpowered glider can stay aloft for many hours, so what is so amazing about this plane? I suppose there is a speed advantage, but is it worth it? The batteries must weigh quite a lot, and also are expensive, for sure. I wonder if there is any regenerative capability.
This is an exciting development. Of course a glider can stay in the air for several hours, but it is not the best A to B kind of transport, as you are flying from one thermal to another, rather than one place to another. If the upper surfaces of this e-Genius aircraft were covered in solar-electric cells, and both gains and losses in height could generate even more power, and progress through the air could generate (on command) even more power, as when loosing height, I\'m sure range could be much increased. Flying at high altitude, above the weather, would increase solar energy, but also increase the amount of equipment necessary to keep the pilot comfortable, and indeed alive.
I once managed 5 hours 20 minutes in an Astir, and even a Falke - with a glide angle similar to the average domestic house brick - could easily manage to stay aloft for a couple of hours - on a good day.
Why not simply call it an electric motor-glider and forget any aspirations into the light aircraft end of the general aviation business?
This is just the same thing as every other electric gimmick vehicle out there. Sure an electric motorcycle can climb pike\'s peak really fast, or a Tesla can run 240 miles on a charge (yeah, right). But ask them to turn around and do it again and every single one of them fails on the spot unless you change out the battery pack. All of them are good for a bit of fun and can make you feel smug but none of them are reliable transportation.
We already have self-launching sailplanes that have 45:1 glide ratios, this is just a heavier version meant to fly under full power the whole time. I bet they get better gas mileage too.
Starting with a glider platform and adding power is logical. Why try to overcome inefficient platforms with a more powerful ICE? Flying on solar power should be the goal of anyone that wants to be completely free in flight. Wouldn\'t it be nice to only come down when food is needed? I assume H2O could be collected in flight.
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