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Sonex Aircraft's electric sports plane makes successful maiden flight

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December 20, 2010

E-Flight Electric Waiex begins the takeoff roll

E-Flight Electric Waiex begins the takeoff roll

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Sonex Aircraft’s proof-of-concept electric-powered Waiex sports aircraft has successfully completed its maiden flight. The flight earlier this month follows four years of development of the aircraft, with the data to be used to determine if any firmware adjustments are needed before proceeding to full traffic pattern and extended-duration test flights.

The proof-of-concept N270DC aircraft used in the first test flight was a standard Waiex kit aircraft modified with the installation of E-Flight electric power components that include an E-Flight 54 kW brushless DC electric motor, E-Flight electronic motor controller, 14.5 kWh lithium polymer battery system, E-Flight battery management system, and E-Flight cockpit instrumentation and controls.

The maiden flight, which took place on December 3, 2010 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was piloted by Sonex founder John Monnett. The flight consisted of a short hop on runway 27 that was intended as a conservative non-pattern flight to break ground-effect and analyze in-flight system performance for the next step in the testing program.

N270DC climbs out of ground effect with John Monnett at the controls

“Every first flight of a new aircraft or powerplant design is an interesting experience,” said John Monnett, “but with N270DC more than any other aircraft we’ve built, I experienced just a glimpse of what the Wright Brothers must have felt like flying an unproven system for the first time. The flight was uneventful, as expected, but it represents a huge emotional victory for our team to check this item off the list.”

Monnett added that the team has a flight envelope expansion plan it will be working on in the coming weeks and months. It has also already started work on the design for the motor v4.0 and motor controller x12.0 that are to be integrated on the N270DC.

Sonex Aircraft embarked on its E-Flight Initiative flight project on 2006, revealing it to the public at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007. During that time the company says it has had to overcome a variety of challenges in engineering, building and testing electric components at the leading edge of technology. The successful first flight test for the project will no doubt spur the team onto greater electric-powered heights.

Via AutoBlogGreen

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
1 Comment

Not that I have a problem with this ( I don't ) but I will say that the term "range anxiety" would take on a whole new meaning in an electric aircraft! :-)

mrhuckfin
21st December, 2010 @ 09:02 am PST
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