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Electric Aircraft


— Aircraft

Sunseeker Duo solar-powered airplane flies across the Alps – and back

By - August 14, 2015 3 Pictures

This July, PC Aero’s single-seater solar-electric Elektra One Solar airplane got some media attention by flying across the Alps in both directions within one trip. Starting in 2009, however, Solar Flight president Eric Raymond took his solar-electric Sunseeker II over the mountain range a number of times. This August, he did his own over-and-back trip … although this time he flew his two-seater Sunseeker Duo, which allowed him to bring his wife Irena along as a second pilot.

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Students rise to NASA electric aircraft design challenge

By - August 5, 2015 5 Pictures
In a recent challenge issued by NASA, university students were asked to design an electric aircraft envisaged to enter service in the year 2020 and be commercially competitive with standard piston-engine craft. In response, the space agency received submissions from 20 universities across the United States that not only met the brief but, in many cases, went above and beyond to really the impress the judges. We take a look at the top five prize winners. Read More
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Elektra One Solar becomes first solar-electric aircraft to cross the Alps in both directions

By - July 13, 2015 4 Pictures

It's been quite a month for electric aircraft. First, the Solar Impulse 2 broke distance and duration records when it flew from Japan to Hawaii. Then, two competing teams both claimed to have made the world's first electric flight across the English Channel. Now, Germany's PC-Aero says that its Elektra One Solar has become the first solar-electric plane to cross the Alps in both directions.

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Electric aircraft makes first English Channel crossing

By - July 12, 2015 6 Pictures

An electric aircraft has crossed the English Channel for the first time. The question is, which one is it? On Friday, Airbus Group announced that its E-Fan technology demonstrator claimed the prize by flying from Lydd, Kent to Calais. However, it soon came to light that French Aerobat Hugues Duval had flown from Dover to Calais 12 hours earlier on Thursday in a Cri-Cri electric plane. Exactly which one gets in the record books may hinge on a technicality.

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Solar Impulse 2 stuck in Hawaii after record-breaking flight

By - July 11, 2015 3 Pictures
Flying around the world on only the power of the sun turns out to be more of a stop-and-go affair than even the team behind Solar Impulse 2 may have guessed. The solar-powered, single-pilot aircraft began circling the globe from Abu Dhabi back in March, but must now remain in Hawaii until early August. While Swiss pilot and Solar Impulse co-founder André Borschberg survived a record-breaking five-day flight from Nagoya, Japan to Oahu with just minimal sleep, SI2's batteries didn't all fare so well without rest. Read More
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E-Fan 2.0 makes podium appearance at Le Bourget

By - June 17, 2015 18 Pictures

When we first covered the news of the E-Fan's first public flight, Airbus was only showing an artist's impression of what the production model of the two-seater electric demonstrator could look like. But this year the company had a full-sized version on display at the 51st Paris Air Show. In addition to straining our ears to listen to hear the original aircraft in the air above Le Bourget, we got the opportunity to rub shoulders with the sleek and sexy E-Fan 2.0 electric pilot trainer.

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Retrofittable electric engine adds power and safety to light aircraft

By - June 10, 2015 5 Pictures

Small, single-engine aircraft are the mainstay of recreational flying, and provide many hours of generally safe enjoyment for hundreds of thousands of enthusiasts worldwide. However, with only one engine on-board, they are also often only a small malfunction away from becoming a heavy, unpowered glider in dire need of somewhere to land. To help improve this situation, researchers at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) and AXTER Aerospace have created an auxiliary electric propulsion unit designed to be installed in conventionally-powered light aircraft to both increase available power and provide extra range in the event of an engine failure.

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Siemens' world-record electric aircraft motor punches above its weight

By - April 20, 2015 7 Pictures
Researchers at Siemens have created a new prototype electric motor specifically designed for aircraft that weighs in at just 50 kg (110 lb) and is claimed to produce about 260 kW (348 hp) at just 2,500 RPM. With a quoted power five times greater than any comparable powerplant, the new motor promises enough grunt to get aircraft with take-off weights of up to 1,800 kg (2 ton) off the ground. Read More
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Could this 18-motor wing be the future of electric aircraft?

By - March 18, 2015 3 Pictures
It might look like it was designed by a six-year-old, with 18 motors crammed onto a too-thin wing, but the Hybrid-Electric Integrated Systems Testbed (HEIST) experimental wing demonstrator could be the future of electric aircraft. A key component of NASA'S Leading Edge Asynchronous Propeller Technology (LEAPTech) project, it is designed to test whether electric propulsion can allow for a tighter wing design leading to greater efficiency and safety. Read More
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