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The Yuneec E430 aims to be the world's first commercially available electric aircraft

By

June 22, 2009

Plug-n-fly: the Yuneec E430 electric aircraft

Plug-n-fly: the Yuneec E430 electric aircraft

Yuneec's E430 is a twin seat, single engine, LSA class aircraft with a significant difference to every commercially available plane that has come before it – it's entirely electric. The lightweight composite-construction E430 charges in three hours from a domestic 230 volt powerpoint, runs for two and half hours on a charge and the all-up cost will be USD$89,000 when it goes on sale this time next year.

The plane made its maiden flight in the hands of test pilot Shun Xun on June 12 at the Yuneec factory near Shanghai, China, and is reportedly both very quiet and vibration-free.

The E430 is designed with simplicity as its main user benefit – low maintenance, simple to fly, and with the experience of flight significantly enhanced by the low noise and lack of vibration.

The plane was loaded into a container this afternoon for shipping to California where it will undergo FAA certification testing before its international debut at the Oshkosh EAA AirVenture 2009 next month. Specification:

Wing Span: 13.8 m (45.2 ft) Fuselage Length: 6.68 m (21.9 ft) Empty Weight: 178 kg (392 lbs) (No Battery) Maximum Takeoff Weight: 430 kg (946 lbs) Motor Output: 40 kw (54 hp) @ 2,450rpm Battery Type: Lithium Polymer Battery Weight: 72 kg (158.5 lbs) (6 Packs)

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
11 Comments

Here I am again. No matter how cute the airplane, non professionals should not fly.

Imagine the carnage when an E430 is not where it should be and is sucked into the turbo-fan of a 747 on close final.

curmudgin
23rd June, 2009 @ 12:06 pm PDT

Where do you get the idea that just anyone will be flying an E430? I suppose only professionals should drive. Imagine the damage when a Cooper Mini gets in the way of an eighteen-wheeler.

I will agree that only licensed pilots should fly aircraft that require licenses. FAA and ICAO rules and regulations are clear about the responsibilities of all pilots whether the aircraft they are flying requires a license or not. Ignorance of the law does not remove culpability in flight anymore than it does on the ground.

xearthmover69
25th June, 2009 @ 12:55 pm PDT

Nothing wrong with easy to fly planes, but I do agree there should be a long, long training period.....

However, my main problem is with the article. Range? Hello? How far can it go on one charge?

I think the future of aviation are hybrid designs. This will allow for much more power on takeoff and in emergencies using an electric motor; it will also allow a craft to land with power even if the engine quits (like when they run out of gas....). It will also allow for a much smaller, fuel efficient engine. Engine size would not be determined by power needed for takeoff.

I think it is a very exciting time in aviation due to new navigation and propulsion technology.

PrometheusGoneWild.com
25th June, 2009 @ 04:55 pm PDT

Sure it will be a nice plane to fly with.

Yet it will have strong competitors.

First of them : HyBird plane, from Lisa Airplanes.

http://www.lisa-airplanes.com/fr/hy-bird/aventures-multiples/

See more on http://terremerair.ddbd.com

Ariel Dahan
29th June, 2009 @ 11:35 am PDT

Many battery powered vehicles make amazing claims about short charging times:

Three hours on a domestic UK power supply would give you 9KwH of energy. Assuming the plane cruises at half power without any reserves, no use of take off power and 100% efficiency it will fly for 27 minutes.

Alan Craig
1st July, 2009 @ 05:19 am PDT

Might need a beefy supply Alan.

But if you had it in your home it'd be domestic.

Just beefier cables and more amps :)

Heat pumps and ovens are 240ish volts and they suck 6kw /-

Perhaps they just mean not 3-phase

Craig Jennings
3rd July, 2009 @ 08:15 pm PDT

So much lack of knowledge of the flying community and the requirements for licensing.

The LSA aircraft will not be behind the 747 as they have rules for that.

Talking about the short range. The average flight for the average Private Pilot is under one hour. They go up on nice Sat or Sun for a short flight. This is the same idea that folks who have SUV's with 400 mile range think thay can't drive an EV, even though they drive 40 miles or less per day. l've driven EV's to work daily for 10 years. I'm working on an electric aircraft with another company at this time.

Don't use the "they can't do that" attitude. It's so negative.

John L. Brecher
23rd January, 2010 @ 05:46 am PST

@ John L Brecher - I agree and best wishes for your Electric aircraft.

While the energy density issues are still being sorted, if we needed we could just develop a swap system for battery packs - it could be quicker than filling up with petrol even if it is needed more often.

Hogey74
20th June, 2010 @ 07:00 pm PDT

9 kilowatts of enegery or about 12 horsepower should be enough to cruise at if the wings are large enough. After all there is a human powered plane that flies on less than one horsepower. We need to know both the stall speed and the horsepower requirements for this particular plane. The 40 kilowatt rating may be the peak value of what is normally a 10 or 12 horsepower rating at continuous running. Or else the peak on this motor may be around 200 horsepower, and I know people like to put the peak power out there instead of the continuous run rating of about 1/4 to 1/5th of the peak rating. By these more slender estimates a three hour charge could render a three hour flight..

. Good Luck John L. Brecher, and by the way, where did you find an efficient motor for your plane and what power rating is it? If you don't mind sharing.

Ronald Wade Cooper
3rd August, 2010 @ 05:18 pm PDT

something else that bugs me is that none of these electric planes I have been seeing are using the latest flexible solar strips or any kind of cell at all. THey have ample wing span to get two or three kilowats of power, or about 4 horsepower to the motor or batteries to extend the range or charge while just sitting around. For an 89 thousand dollar plane I think they could spend two thousand on this feature and add 23 percent to the range.

Ronald Wade Cooper
3rd August, 2010 @ 05:21 pm PDT

Whatever. Electric vehicles create more waste byproducts in creation than any standard type vehicle will ever produce in use. But if it trips your trigger, go for it.

Chris Blake
2nd December, 2010 @ 07:09 am PST
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