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Aircraft powered by 160 AA batteries


July 21, 2006

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July 22, 2006 Panasonic (AKA Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd) certainly comes up with some interesting and original promotional concepts for its Oxyride battery business. In April 2005 we wrote about the company visiting Japanese schools and shopping malls to demonstrate a car powered by two AA-size Oxyride batteries and now comes the news of battery-powered flight. Yes folks, Panasonic together with the Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT), has been working on the Oxyride Dry Cell Manned Flight Project since January this year. On July 16, the airplane powered by 160 AA-size Oxyride dry cell batteries flew a distance of 391.4 meters at an altitude of 6.11 meters at Okegawa Airport in Saitama Prefecture on the northern outskirts of Tokyo. The one-seat airplane, weighing 54 kg with a wingspan of 31 meters and piloted by a TIT student weighing 53 kg, was in the air for 59 seconds.

The effort by the Tokyo Institute of Technology students was remarkable in that the flight covered a greater distance than the 259 meters recorded by the Wright Brothers for the first manned, sustained flight powered by a gasoline engine back in 1903.

Indeed, after successfully completing the official attempt, the students tried another flight powered by only 96 batteries and flew a distance of 269.3 meters in 39 seconds at an altitude of 1.42 meters – once more longer than the Wright Brothers first flight on December 17, 1903.

The world's first battery-powered airplane will be on display at JR Tokyo Station from July 31 to August 6 and at the National Science Museum in Tokyo from September 15 to 24.

The flight took place in front of officials of the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA) to make it an official record, following the rules set by the JAA. They will further seek official recognition from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) as the world's first manned flight on dry cell batteries.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, Telstra.com.au (Australia's largest Telco), Seek.com.au (Australia's largest employment site), top100.com.au, hitwise.com, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
1 Comment

I have been a TIT student for many years, and great fun it has been. lol!

Regarding electric planes, they only really need power for launching. They can then function as a glider. At my school, we had a glider which was launched with an elastic rope (we had spoilers on the wings, so it didn\'t go too high. We weren\'t trained pilots)

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