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eGenius electric aircraft makes successful maiden flight

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May 31, 2011

The electric powered eGenius concept demonstrator on its successful maiden flight

The electric powered eGenius concept demonstrator on its successful maiden flight

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An electric powered aircraft demonstrator has taken to the air for the first time with a 20-minute flight from Mindelheim, Germany. Intended for entry in the NASA funded CAFE 2011 Green Flight Challenge, the eGenius concept was designed by a team from the University of Stuttgart's Institute of Aircraft Design, with funding from Airbus, whose Future Projects teams will analyze data collected during the maiden flight.

With a configuration similar to a touring motor glider, the eGenius boasts a wingspan of 16.9 m (55.4 ft) and hull length of 8.1 m (26.6 ft). With its cockpit width of 1.1 m (3.6 ft), the aircraft is wide enough to accommodate two seats in a side-by-side configuration.

The aircraft's single tail-mounted propeller is driven by an electric motor producing a maximum of 60 kW at 2,000 rpm. With a minimum takeoff weight of 850 kg (1,874 lb) and carrying two passengers of less than 180 kg (397 lb) combined, the eGenius can travel at cruising speeds of up to 235 km/h (146 mph) for up to 400 km (248.5 miles).

Test pilot Steffen Gemsa piloted the eGenius on its successful 20-minute maiden flight on May 26, which was followed on May 29 with a longer two hour 36 minute flight piloted by Soeren Pederson.

The era of light and ultralight aircraft electric aircraft has well and truly begun, but Airbus's interest and funding of the eGenius concept, as well as its trials on biofuels, indicates that the commercial aircraft industry, which is one of the biggest greenhouse gas polluters on the planet, is beginning to look seriously at ways to reduce its environmental impact.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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3 Comments

The author is dramatically wrong when he wrote that commercial aviation is one of the biggest greenhouse gas polluters. It isn't. Most studies echo a 2010 British study that puts commercial aviation emissions from developed countries at just 3.5% among all industries.

A Canadian study puts aviation greenhouse gas emissions at just 1.4%, a distant 9th, behind other forms of transportation, farming and manufacturing; automobiles produce more, by a factor of twenty.

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, US registered private and general aviation emit slightly over one tenth of 1% of all greenhouse gases in the country, while moving nearly half of all air travelers.

Anthropogenic global warming theory is already under siege; if people don't believe the danger, we will not make timely transitions to electricity and biofuels. If we want to protect the planet, we need credibility, and that means factual reporting. Sadly, Darren Quick couldn't be bothered.

Bruce Curtis, ATP/CFI, A, I, ME/CGI A, I

Bruce Curtis
31st May, 2011 @ 12:09 pm PDT

I would like to see a comparison with a 60kW ICE powerplant installed in an identical airframe.

William H Lanteigne
31st May, 2011 @ 12:50 pm PDT

While aircraft emissions are a small percentage of total human emissions, it's where the emissions occur that makes them more potent than ground-based emissions. There's lots of info out there on this, start at http://climatelab.org/Airplane_emissions

Mr T
31st May, 2011 @ 06:22 pm PDT
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