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All-electric SportsStar EPOS makes maiden flight

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April 15, 2013

The all-electric SportStar EPOS two-seater in flight

The all-electric SportStar EPOS two-seater in flight

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Czech light aircraft specialist Evektor-Aerotechnik has announced the maiden flight of its all-electric SportStar EPOS two-seater airplane. On March 28, the EPOS made two back-to-back flights with a combined flight time of 30 minutes. The EPOS, the name of which derives from "electric-powered small aircraft," is powered by a single 50-kW Rotex Electric motor and features what its makers describe as a "new trapezoidal wing of extended span," which is 10.46 m (34.3 ft) tip to tip.

Judging by the lengthy chain of alphanumerics listed next to the battery on Evektor's specs sheet, the aircraft seems to be equipped with a 40-Ah power-pack from Kokam. Maximum speed is pegged at 260 km/h (or 140 knots indicated airspeed), and cruise speed 150 km/h (81 KIAS).

Without battery containers on board, the EPOS has an empty weight of 275 kg (606 lb), though it's capable of a claimed maximum take-off weight of 600 kg (1,323 lb). Evektor's website has a full rundown of the specs.

In a statement, project manager Martin Drštička draws parallels with electric cars. "In that field, electromobility also struggles for its place on the market, which it deserves, but in doing so it must overcome a number of technical problems," he said. "I am convinced that the range of potential of electric driven sport aircraft is very wide."

The aircraft will make its public debut at the Aero Friedrichshafen aviation show in Germany between April 24 and 27.

The company admits that further technical improvements are required before its vehicle is ready to sell to its intended market of flight schools and private customers. For inspiration, Evektor may look to the Yuneec E430. Though apparently still in development, the electric two-seater boasts a flight time of 2 hours thanks to a battery with twice the charge in an aircraft just over half the weight. It may not fly so fast, but for the target market, speed may not be the first priority.

You can see a video of the EPOS in flight below.

Source: Evektor-Aerotechnik via AVweb

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About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life. All articles by James Holloway
18 Comments

Looks like taxi would be more efficient with a servo on the front wheel.

b@man

No parachute needed for this test pilot.

Mark A

I think the design is very clean and very nice. With it being electric, it would also be very quiet. I think it would be great for those who like to fly but have no need to fly far.

BigGoofyGuy

A truly unfortunate acronym!

Forget about "flight time," let's talk about range at normal light plane altitudes. It seems that, as with its electric car brethren, range will be an issue.

On the other hand, for recreational pilots who only go up for short hops when the weather is nice, this might actually have advantages over gas power. Planes are thirsty, and the savings in gas costs might be significant. Plus, if you only fly once a week, recharge times become a non-issue. And maintenance might be considerably reduced if you take the internal combustion engine out of the equation.

On the third hand, though, electric cars don't fall out of the sky if they run out of juice.

Jon A.

Oh God.... how long will the battery last if you're doing steep turns? How will this prepare a student to transition into high performance and vintage airplanes. How will students prepare for their written exams if they don't learn to use reciprocating engines? How many airports are within range with energy reserves for cross country flights which are necessary to get a private pilot's certificate? How will this help at remote air strips???

Ian Mitko

I'm surprised that the wing area isnt covered in solar panels, it would help to extend range wile flying and enable recharging wile parked. It will of course being electric be EXTREMLEY reliable and wont require the same high levels of maintenace of conventional aircraft. It SHOULD also be far cheaper than conventional aircraft. I would like to think though that it has a good level of gliding ability and an emergency parachute fitted should the worst happen.

John Findlay

I noticed that they didn't say how much the battery weighed; I'm assuming that the pilot in the video was all it can carry. With that limited of a power budget I would have gone with manually retracted landing gear. Granted a muffler would help but most the noise from an ICE light plane is from the prop. If you noise reduction use reduction gear and a many bladed prop.

Slowburn

I look forward to the day that most lite aircraft are electric because they will produce far less noise pollution.

Oztechi

Airplanes don't 'fall out of the sky' unless there is some structural failure. Very unlikely ! Safety Nancys that want a ballistic chute to save their bacon when the motor stops would be better served polishing their stick & rudder skills than adding the extra weight of a 'chute.

Oh, and BTW, this aircraft has fixed gear - not rectractable.......

Christine Gray

Its the props that make a plane noisy mostly, as you can hear in the video it still sounds like a normal ice powered plane. if you didn't know it was battery powered it would be an easy mistake to make.

Denis Klanac

A tow line launch would save a lot of battery power. How about an electric powered glider?. Maybe you could add solar panels to the wings, as well. Just use the engine to gain height if there aren't any thermals when you need them.

David Clarke

I worry about Kokam's LiPo batteries since fire is the fastest way to bring down a plane. If they could engineer a system which jettisons the batteries if fire is imminent, I'd feel better.

One day someone will invent a skin for airplanes which both reduces drag and collects energy. This could be something like a golf ball dimple pattern coupled with inlets to mechanical turbine wheels or, energy collection from either the external pressure on the material itself or flex in the material. Air pressure on control surfaces could also be used to harvest energy. Air turbulence (a common occurrence) could be used to collect energy, again from control surfaces and wing flex.

No use having the pilots pedal - passengers maybe...:-)

Mirmillion

Back in the day I flew a Cirrus 2 with an 38 foot wing span to fly thermals and ridge lift, now add Photo V to the wing surfaces for longer range. Loose the airplane weight and use compressed air rather than a prop.. Birds only burn food to fly. Burn nothing. Got sulfur?

Patrick McGean

I didn't see it mentioned here, but most electric planes that I have heard about usually have a 60 minute flying time. Longer range needs more batteries, more batteries equal more weight.

Luddite

re; Mirmillion

Flaming batteries plunging out of the sky. The only thing that could make this idea worse.

re; Christine Gray

I noticed that the gear were fixed and think that it's a design deficiency.

Slowburn

In order for electric flight to be practical - you need 3 things: thermals or ridge lift, glider wings and the ability to recharge while in flight. (Soon we will release info on the Hydro X E that can achieve recharging but can also self launch from water or hard surface.) This airplane has not been designed around electric. It needs retracts and a 2 blade prop for starters. I will give it an A for the paint job.

donwine

Slowburn, An efficient propeller is a quiet propeller. Paul Lipps - Elippse Propeller http://www.eaa.org/experimenter/articles/2009-02_elippse.asp Jack Norris - Betz Goldstein Theodorsen BGT http://www.propellersexplained.com/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_M._Olmsted http://www.sbir.gov/sbirsearch/detail/13765 The current electric motors are known for high torque at lower RPM than ICE, so no reduction may be needed this application. Sure would be nice to have an aerobatic electric aircraft. Oops: http://www.gizmag.com/eads-acs-green-cri-electric-aerobatic-airplane/15621/

Dave B13

If you could beam the electricity from the ground the range would be limitless.

Edgar Walkowsky
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