|Part of a series on|
driving propellers, rotors, ducted fans or propfans
An electric aircraft is an aircraft that runs on electric motors rather than internal combustion engines, with electricity coming from fuel cells, solar cells, ultracapacitors, power beaming, or batteries.
Currently flying electric aircraft are mostly experimental demonstrators, including manned and unmanned aerial vehicles. Electrically powered model aircraft have been flown since the 1970s, with one report in 1957. The first man-carrying electrically powered flights were made in 1973. In 2015, a manned, solar-powered plane, Solar Impulse, began a planned 5-month circumnavigation of the Earth.
- 1 History
- 2 Experimental projects
- 2.1 1970s and 1980s
- 2.2 1990s
- 2.3 2000s
- 2.4 2010s
- 3 Production aircraft
- 3.1 1990s
- 3.2 2000s
- 3.3 2010s
- 4 See also
- 5 References
- 6 External links
Electric motors have been used for model fixed-wing aircraft since from at least 1957, with a challenged claim from 1909.
In 1973, Fred Militky and Heino Brditschka converted a Brditschka HB-3 motor glider to an electric aircraft, the Militky MB-E1, the first man carrying, full size aircraft to fly under solely under electric power. Heino flew it for 14 minutes that same year.
In 2007, the non-profit CAFE Foundation held the first Electric Aircraft Symposium in San Francisco. The first electric registered aircraft makes its first flights the 2007-12-23 : BL1E "Electra" (F-PMDJ).
In 2009, a team from the Turin Polytechnic University made a conversion of a Pioneer Alpi 300. It flew 250 km/h for 14 minutes.
By 2011, the use of electric power for aircraft was gaining momentum. At AirVenture in that year the Electric Aircraft World Symposium was held and attracted wide attention. It was sponsored by GE Aviation and included presentations by US Air Force, NASA, Sikorsky Aircraft, Argonne National Labs and the US Federal Aviation Administration.
1970s and 1980s
In 1973 the West German Militky MB-E1 became the first man-carrying, full-size aircraft to fly solely on electric power. It used Ni-Cd batteries and a 10 kW (13 hp) DC motor, which gave it a duration of over 12 minutes.
The 27 lb (12 kg) unmanned AstroFlight Sunrise, the result of an ARPA contract, made the world's first solar-powered flight from Bicycle Lake, a dry lakebed on the Fort Irwin Military Reservation, on 4 November 1974. The improved Sunrise II flew on 27 September 1975 at Nellis Air Force Base.
The world’s first official flight in a solar-powered, man-carrying aircraft took place on April 29, 1979. The Mauro Solar Riser was built by Larry Mauro and was based on the UFM Easy Riser biplane hang glider. The aircraft used photovoltaic cells that produced 350 watts at 30 volts, which charged a Hughes 500 helicopter battery, which in turn powered the electric motor. The aircraft was capable of powering the motor for 3 to 5 minutes, following a 1.5-hour charge, enabling it to reach a gliding altitude.
The Solar-Powered Aircraft Developments Solar One was designed by David Williams under the direction of Freddie To, an architect and member of the Kremer prize committee and produced by Solar-Powered Aircraft Developments. A motor-glider type aircraft originally built as a pedal-powered airplane to attempt the Channel crossing, the airplane proved too heavy to be successfully powered by human power and was then converted to solar power, using an electric motor driven by batteries that were charged before flight by a solar cell array on the wing. The maiden flight of Solar One took place at Lasham Airfield; Hampshire on June 13, 1979.
Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger
The Gossamer Penguin, a smaller version of the human-powered Gossamer Albatross was completely solar-powered. A second prototype, the Solar Challenger, flew 262 km (163 mi) from Paris to England. On 7 July 1981, the aircraft, under solar-power, flew 163 miles from Cormeilles-en-Vexin Airport near Paris across the English Channel to RAF Manston near London, flying for 5 hours and 23 minutes. Designed by Dr. Paul MacCready the Solar Challenger set an altitude record of 14,300 feet.
MIT Monarch and Monarch-B
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Monarch aircraft project was a series of two aircraft designed to win the Kremer prize for human-powered aircraft speed record. The aircraft used an electrical motor along with batteries which were charged by the pedalling action of an athlete piloting the aircraft.
Aerovironment Bionic Bat
The Aerovironment Bionic Bat was an aircraft built to compete for the Kremer Speed Challenge, one in a series of Kremer prize offerings administered by the Royal Aeronautical Society. It incorporated an electric motor that doubled as a generator while on the ground, with the pilot's pedaling action charging ni-cad batteries. The stored energy was used to supplement pedal power from the pilot during record attempts. In 1984, Bionic Bat won two segments of the Kremer Speed Challenge.
The human piloted Solair 1 was developed by Günther Rochelt and based on a Hans Farner canard design. It employed 2499 wing-mounted solar cells, giving an output of between 1.8 kilowatts (kW). This was equivalent to approximately 2.4 horsepower (hp), and 2.2 kW (3.0 hp). The aircraft first flew at Unterwössen, Germany on 21 August 1983. It flew for 5 hours and 41 minutes, "mostly on solar energy and also thermals". The aircraft is now displayed at the German Museum in Munich. The newly developed piloted Solair II made its first flight in May 1998 and further test flights that summer but the propulsion system overheated too fast. Development stopped when Günther Rochelt suddenly died in September 1998.
NASA Pathfinder, Pathfinder Plus, Centurion, and Helios
NASA's Pathfinder, Pathfinder Plus, Centurion, and Helios were a series of solar and fuel cell system–powered unmanned aircraft developed by AeroVironment, Inc. from 1983 until 2003 under NASA's Environmental Research Aircraft and Sensor Technology program. On September 11, 1995, Pathfinder set an unofficial altitude record for solar-powered aircraft of 50,000 feet (15,000 m) during a 12 hour flight from NASA Dryden. After further modifications, the aircraft was moved to the U.S. Navy's Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. On July 7, 1997, Pathfinder raised the altitude record for solar–powered aircraft to 71,530 feet (21,800 m), which was also the record for propeller–driven aircraft.
On August 14, 2001 Helios set an altitude record of 96,863 feet (29,524 m) – the record for FAI class U (Experimental / New Technologies), and FAI class U-1.d (Remotely controlled UAV: Weight 500 kg to less than 2,500 kg) as well as the altitude record for propeller–driven aircraft. On June 26, 2003, the Helios Prototype broke up and fell into the Pacific Ocean off Hawaii after the aircraft encountered turbulence, ending the program.
During the summer of 1990, the solar-powered airplane Sunseeker, piloted by Eric Raymond, became the first solar-powered airplane to cross the United States. It used a small battery pack charged by solar cells on the wings for takeoff, and then was able to fly directly on solar power.
The Sunseeker II, built in 2002, was updated in 2005–2006 with a more powerful motor, larger wing, lithium battery packs and updated control electronics. As of Dec, 2008 it was the only manned solar-powered airplane in flying condition and was flown regularly by Solar Flight. In 2009 it became the first solar-powered aircraft to cross the Alps, 99 years after the first crossing of the Alps by an aircraft.
China's first solar-powered aircraft "Soaring" was designed and built by Danny H. Y. Li and Zhao Yong in 1992. The body and wings are hand-built predominantly of carbon fiber, Kevlar and wood. The design uses winglets to increase the effective wing span and reduce induced drag.
The German solar-powered aircraft "Icaré II" was designed and built by the institute of aircraft design (Institut für Flugzeugbau) of the University of Stuttgart in 1996. The leader of the project and often pilot of the aircraft is Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann the head of the institute. The design won the Berblinger prize in 1996, the EAA Special Achievement Award in Oshkosh, the Golden Daidalos Medal of the German Aeroclub and the OSTIV-Prize in France in 1997.
Built by Lange Flugzeugbau GmbH, the LF20 was a heavily modified DG800. First flown on 7 May 1999, the aircraft was used as a flying testbed and technology demonstrator. Powered by NiMh cells and using the same EA42 propulsion system as the later Antares 20E, the LF20 could climb 1725 m on one charge.
Antares 20E and 23E
The Antares 20E is an electric, self-launching 20-meter sailplane with a 42-kW DC/DC brushless motor and lithium-ion batteries. It can climb up to 3,000 meters with fully charged cells. The first flight was in 2003. The Antares 20E was the first aircraft with an electric propulsion system to obtain a certificate of airworthiness. In 2011 the aircraft won the 2011 Berblinger competition, an ambitious aerial challenge for “green” aircraft. The Antares 23E is a 23-meter version of the 20E featuring a wider range of wing-loading and higher performance, using the same propulsion system as the 20E and Arcus E. The Antares 23E first flew in December 2011, with series production commencing in early 2012.
Alan Cocconi and the SoLong
In 2005, Alan Cocconi, who founded the California (USA) electric-propulsion research company AC Propulsion, flew, with the assistance of several other pilots, an unmanned airplane named "SoLong" for 48 hours non-stop, propelled entirely by solar energy. This was the first such around-the-clock flight, on energy stored in the batteries mounted on the plane.
The first short-hop (350 m) test flight of the Solar Impulse prototype was made on 3 December 2009. The prototype and its successor, Solar Impulse 2, are each powered by four electric motors. Power from solar cells on the wings and horizontal stabilizer is stored in lithium polymer batteries and used to drive propellers. In 2010 it completed the first manned 24-hour flight completely powered by solar power.
In 2012, the Solar Impulse successfully completed an intercontinental flight, the first-ever by a solar plane, flying a 19-hour trip from Madrid, Spain, to Rabat, Morocco. The following year, the aircraft set a new world distance record for solar aviation on a flight from Phoenix, Arizona to Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as part of its multi-segment trip across the United States.
A second aircraft, completed in 2014 and named Solar Impulse 2, carries more solar cells and more powerful engines, among other improvements. In March 2015, the plane began a circumnavigation of the Earth, departing from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. It is scheduled to return to Abu Dhabi in August 2015, upon the completion of its multi-stage journey.
Electravia BL1E Electra
The Electravia team, with the APAME Association, first flew its "Electra" electric-powered open-cockpit airplane on Sunday, 23 December 2007 at Aspres sur Buech airfield, Hautes Alpes, France. Test pilot Christian Vandamme, Electravia technical manager, flew the strut-equipped aircraft for 48 minutes, covering 50 km (31 mi). The BL1E "Electra" is powered by an 18-kW (24 hp) disk-brushed electric engine driven by a 47 kg (104 lb) KOKAM Lithium-Polymer battery power pack. The BL1E "Electra" is the first registered aircraft in the world powered by electric engine and with batteries. It was the first electric realization of the French company Electravia.
Electravia Electro Trike
The Electravia Electro Trike is a single-seater delta trike with an electric propulsion system from Electravia. First flight in June 2008 in Aspres sur Buëch, Hautes Alpes, France. Engine GMPE 102 of 26 hp. The 3 kWh pack of Lithium-Polymer batteries allows 1 hour of flight with ElectroTrike. Charge of a 3 kWh battery takes 1 hour 30 minutes.
First manned AA-battery-powered aircraft
Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and undergraduates at the Tokyo Institute of Technology teamed up to build an aircraft powered by 160 AA battery cells and successfully flew it for a distance of 391 meters (1,283 ft) in July, 2006.
Successful test flights took place in February and March 2008.
Boeing's partners in the project are Intelligent Energy of Britain (fuel-cell); Diamond Aircraft of Austria (Airframe); Spanish Sener (control system); Spanish Aerlyper (integrate motor with airframe); Advanced Technology Products, a U.S. company (motor, batteries, flight testing).
The QinetiQ Zephyr is a lightweight solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle engineered by the United Kingdom defence firm, QinetiQ. As of 23 July 2010 it holds the endurance record for an unmanned aerial vehicle of over 2 weeks (336 hours).
It is of carbon fiber-reinforced polymer construction, the 2010 version weighing 50 kg (110 lb) (the 2008 version weighed 30 kg (66 lb)) with a span of 22.5 metres (the 2008 version had 18 metres (59 feet)). It uses sunlight to charge lithium-sulphur batteries during the day, which power the aircraft at night. The aircraft has been designed for use in observation and communications relay.
The 2008 Zephyr version flew for 82 hours, reaching 61,000 feet (19,000 m) in altitude in July 2008, the then unofficial world record for the longest duration unmanned flight. In July 2010 the 2010 version of the Zephyr made a world record unmanned aerial vehicle endurance flight of 336 hours, 22 minutes and 8 seconds (more than two weeks) and also set an altitude record of 70,742 feet (21,562 m) for FAI class U-1.c (Remotely controlled UAV: Weight 50 kg to less than 500 kg).
The SkySpark is a joint project of engineering company DigiSky and Polytechnic University of Turin. The two-seat Pioneer Alpi 300 has a 75 kW (101 hp) brushless electric motor powered by lithium polymer batteries. The aircraft achieved a world record of 250 km/h (155 mph) for a human-carrying electric aircraft on 12 June 2009.
Green Pioneer Ι
The Green Pioneer solar-powered aircraft research programme was announced at the 4th China International Aviation and Aerospace Exhibition in 2002. The experimental programme was intended to provide research data for future Chinese solar-powered aircraft. The programme was run by New Concept Aircraft (Zhuhai), the China Aviation Industry Development Research Center, and China Academy of Space Technology. The project leader and chief designer was Danny H. Y. Li.
Airbus has been co-developing an electric aircraft with Aero Composite Saintonge. The aircraft, called the E-Fan, uses on-board lithium batteries to power the two electric engines and can carry two crew. A test flight was conducted in April 2014 at Mérignac Airport, France, landing in front of a large audience, the French Minister of Industry Arnaud Montebourg being one of them. Airbus has stated that there are plans for development of a commercial regional aircraft in the near future.
In June 2010 European aerospace company EADS unveiled an electric version of the 1970s vintage Colomban Cri-cri ultralight aircraft powered by four electric engines. The Cri-Cri will have lithium batteries and will be able to fly for 30 minutes at 60 kn (111 km/h) or 15 minutes of aerobatics at speeds up to 135 kn (250 km/h), with a climb rate of 1,000 feet per minute. The aircraft is a demonstrator for future technology, as Jean Botti, EADS's chief technical officer explained: "The Cri-Cri is a low-cost test bed for system integration of electrical technologies in support of projects like our hybrid propulsion concept for helicopters." The Cri-Cri first flew on 2 September 2010 at Le Bourget airport near Paris.
Hugues Duval MC15E Cri-Cri
On 5 September 2010, pilot Hugues Duval established a world speed record for electric aircraft with his twin engine MC15E CriCri “E-Cristaline”. This aircraft has been equipped with Electravia engines, controllers, batteries and propellers. During the Pontoise Air show, a top speed of 262 km/h (141 kt) was recorded by Aero Club de France organizers. Then, on 25 June 2011, during the official flight presentation at 2011 Paris Air Show (Salon du Bourget), Duval established a new world record of 283 km/h (176 mph)
The battery-powered e-Genius was designed and built by the Institute of Aircraft Design (Institut für Flugzeugbau) of the University of Stuttgart Germany for the 10–17 July 2011 Green Flight Challenge in Santa Rosa, California. The design has similarities to their earlier solar-powered aircraft Icaré II and seems to share most of the components with the fuel-cell–powered Hydrogenius. The aircraft is a converted motorglider and uses a tail-mounted 80 hp (60 kW) electric motor. The e-Genius performed its first 20-minute flight on 25 May 2011. In July 2011 the aircraft flew for over two hours between two points near Mindelheim, Germany, at an average speed of more than 100 mph (161 km/h).
The ENFICA-FC is a project of the European Commission, to study and demonstrate an all-electric aircraft with fuel-cells as the main or auxiliary power system. During the three-year project, a fuel-cell based power system was designed and flown in a Rapid 200FC ultralight aircraft.
The E-Fenix was the first two-seat electric paratrike flown. Developed by Planète Sports & Loisirs, headquartered on Re Island, off the coast of La Rochelle, France, with an Electravia electric drivetrain, this paratrike has been used since the summer of 2011 for tourist flying. The first flight took place on 12 May 2011 at Sisteron's airfield (South of France, headquarters of Electravia), with Michaël Morin as test pilot.
The Puffin is a proposed hover-capable, electric-powered, low-noise, personal, vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) technology-concept, proprotor aircraft. It would be capable of flying a single person at a speed of 150 miles per hour. Range is expected to be less than 50 miles with initial battery technology. The design has a 13.5-foot wingspan and stands 12 feet tall on the ground in its take-off or landing configuration.
As of August 2010[update], the one-third scale model of the Puffin was on display at the NASA Langley campus for filming for the Discovery network series “Dean of Invention.” The Puffin simulator was also demonstrated. The Puffin will appear in the eighth and final episode of the show.
Pipistrel Taurus G4
In July 2011 Pipistrel unveiled their Taurus G4 dual fuselage, four seat, single engine experimental aircraft that demonstrated the equivalent of 400 passenger miles per gallon efficiency. The aircraft joins two sailplane fuselages, with two seats each, with a single tractor configuration electric motor mounted between the fuselages. The aircraft carries 1,100 lb (499 kg) of Lithium polymer batteries. The aircraft has a 75 ft (22.9 m) wing and has a gross take-off weight of 3,300 lb (1,497 kg), making it the heaviest manned electric-powered aircraft built to date. It has a glide ratio of over 30:1 at 100 mph (161 km/h). The G4 first flew on 12 August 2011 and won the NASA Green Flight Challenge on 3 October 2011.
Luxembourg Special Aerotechnics MC30E
On 13 April 2011, during the AERO Friedrichshafen show, the Luxembourg Special Aerotechnics MC30E proof-of-concept aircraft piloted by Jean Luc-Soullier, using Dow Kokam Li-Po batteries, set a record for electric aircraft of 135 km/h (73 kn) over a return 15 km (8 nmi) circuit in the FAI RAL1E category (FAI ID 16214) which was not approved solely for file format reason. This aircraft was later retrofitted with a more efficient engine from Electravia, in order to pursue further records in 2011. Since this time the FAI registered four records in speed, distance and altitude, flown 27 February 2012 (FAI ID 16 495,16496 and 16497) and 29 September 2012 (FAI ID 16638).
In 2011, Ultraflight Lazair designer Dale Kramer introduced an experimental electric-powered Lazair on an amphibious mono-float, with outrigger floats at AirVenture. The aircraft is powered by twin Bevirt JM1 Joby model aircraft powerplants and dual 16 cell 4 amp-hour battery packs that produce 63 volts, mounted in the wings. The aircraft won Antique Ultralight Champion and Best Ultralight Amphibian at AirVenture. The aircraft is an experimental project and no production is planned.
The Solution F/Chretien Helicopter the world's first man-carrying, free-flying electric helicopter was developed by Pascal Chretien. The concept was taken from the conceptual computer-aided design model on September 10, 2010 to the first testing at 30% power on March 1, 2011—less than six months. The aircraft first flew on August 12, 2011. All development was conducted in Venelles, France.
The world's first large-scale all-electric tilt-rotor was the AgustaWestland Project Zero unmanned aerial vehicle technology demonstrator, which performed unmanned tethered fights on ground power in June 2011, less than six months after the company gave the official go-ahead.
Several other electric aircraft are now being created for the Green Flight Challenge. These include:
- Fueling GFC Team Fueling GFC
- Windward Performance Goshawk
- Phoenix Air PhoEnix
Alisport Silent Club
The first commercially available production electric aircraft was the Alisport Silent Club self-launching sailplane. It was first tested in 1997. It is optionally driven by a 13 kW (17 hp) DC electric motor running on 40 kg (88 lb) of batteries that store 1.4 kWh of energy.
Air Energy AE-1 Silent
The Air Energy AE-1 Silent came on the market in 1998.
In April 2007 the Electric Aircraft Corporation began offering complete electric ultralights and engine kits under the ElectraFlyer brand name, to convert existing ultralight aircraft to electric power, in what was the first commercial offering of an electric aircraft.
The 18 hp (13 kW) engine package weighs 26 lbs and an efficiency of 90% is claimed by the company. The battery consists of two lithium-polymer battery packs which provides 1.5 hours of flying in the trike application.
In January 2008 the company introduced their new ElectraFlyer-C at the Sebring Light Sport Aircraft Show. This aircraft is a converted Monnett Moni motor glider equipped with an 18-hp electric motor, regenerative-braking-capable controller package and two lithium polymer battery packs. The engine weighs 29 lbs and the battery packs weigh 78 lbs total. The aircraft has a climb rate of 500 ft/min, cruise of 70 mph and an endurance of 90 minutes. It is capable of being recharged from a 110-volt source in six hours or from a 220 volt source in two hours. The aircraft began flying in May 2008 and was demonstrated before the crowds on August 2 at AirVenture 2008.
In April 2009 the ElectraFlyer-C prototype was offered for sale on eBay. The designer intended to use the funds from the sale, plus a Lindbergh Foundation grant of $10,580 to complete the two-place Electric Aircraft Corporation ElectraFlyer-X design that will eventually qualify for light-sport aircraft status. The new design will incorporate composite construction, detachable wingtips to aid storage and will be powered by a 50 hp (37 kW) electric motor. Its design goals include a 28:1 glide ratio and a cruise speed of 80 mph (129 km/h) for two hours.
Electraflyer president Randall Fishman announced in April 2010 that the company's latest model, the Electraflyer-X, would fly in May or June 2010. The aircraft will be a two-seater and will utilize a new 20 hp (15 kW) single rotor electric powerplant. Fishman is also developing 40 hp (30 kW) two-rotor and 60 hp (45 kW) three rotor engine designs.
During AirVenture 2007 Sonex Aircraft announced that they are working on a series of alternate power initiatives, including an electric-powered aircraft. The electric-powered Waiex motor glider was first flown in December 2010 and is powered by a 54 kW (72 hp) brushless DC electric motor, managed by a newly designed controller. Power is from a collection of 14.5 kW-hour lithium polymer batteries, giving the aircraft an endurance of one hour at low-speed cruise or 15 minutes of aerobatics. This power system is being developed for the Sonex Electric Sport Aircraft, which will be available as a kit.
Yuneec International E430
A new Chinese aircraft was announced in 2009. The Yuneec International E430 is a two seat, V tailed, composite aircraft with a high-aspect ratio wing. Take-off speed is 40 mph and top speed is 93 mph. The aircraft is being developed as a homebuilt aircraft for the US market.
The prototype E430 was displayed at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in July 2009, by which time it had flown over 22 hours. Powered by a Yuneec Power Drive 40 electric motor, the company claims that the battery packs have an expected lifespan of 1500 hours and cost US$7000 each, with the aircraft carrying 3–5 battery packs, giving two to two and half hours' endurance. The batteries can be recharged in 3 hours. The company projects that by the time the first customers require replacement battery packs that improved and less expensive ones will be available. Projected price for a commercially available light sport aircraft production version of the E430 is US$89,000.
Lange Antares 20E
The Lange Antares 20E is a self-launching motor glider with a 42-kW electric motor and SAFT VL 41M lithium-ion batteries. The motor actuates 2-blade fixed pitch propeller. It can climb up to 3,000 meters with fully charged cells. After launch it can function as a conventional, though heavy, glider. As of January 2010[update], over 50 had been built.
GreenWing eSpyder (formerly Flightstar e-Spyder)
The GreenWing International eSpyder is a single-seat electric airplane sold as a kit for construction as an amateur-built airplane. It is based upon the Flightstar Spyder ultralight, developed by Flightstar Sportplanes president Tom Peghiny of South Woodstock, Connecticut, USA in cooperation with electric motor manufacturer Yuneec and first flew July 17, 2009. It has a Yuneec 24-kW electric power system that can lift a 220-pound payload at an initial climb rate of 375 feet per minute. Maximum speed is 56 mph; economy cruise is 37 mph. Flights as long as an hour are possible, with a 30-minute reserve still available upon landing. Batteries can be charged in about two hours. German DULV certification was awarded in February 2013. GreenWing began taking orders at the 2013 EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, WI at a cost of $39,990 and kits are scheduled to begin delivery the end of 2013.
Icaro 2000 Trike
Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau Arcus-E
The Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau Arcus-E self-launch two-place glider first flew in 2010 and entered series production shortly afterwards, with several now delivered. Arcus was designed to accommodate electric, gas-self-launch, gas-sustainer, or no motor. Arcus E is a collaboration between Schempp-Hirth and Lange Aviation, and uses the identical propulsion system as the Lange Antares 20E and Antares 23E. 
In July 2010 Cessna announced it was developing an electrically powered Cessna 172 as a proof-of-concept in partnership with Bye Energy. Cessna CEO Jack Pelton stated that the project reflects "encouraging news for the future of mainstream general aviation." Pelton pointed out "the electric power plant offers significant benefits, but there are significant challenges to get there."
PC-Aero Elektra One
The Elektra One is a development of a commercial electric aircraft design by PC-Aero of Germany. The single seat composite aircraft had its first flight in early 2011. The Elektra One is powered by a 21 hp (16 kW) electric motor and is expected to have an endurance of three hours, with a 100 mph (161 km/h) top speed.
The company is planning a whole line of aircraft including a version of the Elektra One with longer wings and built-in solar panels and an aerobatic version with double Elektra One's power and airframe strength. The company is also planning two and four seat developments.
Pipistrel Taurus Electro G2
First made available commercially in February 2011, the Taurus Electro G2 is a two-seat self-launching sailplane. The 40 kW (54 hp) engine powers the aircraft from internally mounted lithium batteries for a 17-minute climb, after which the engine is retracted and the aircraft then soars as a sailplane. In April 2011 the Taurus won the 2011 Lindbergh Electric Aircraft Prize for "best electric aircraft" at the Aero show held in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
Electravia ElectroLight 2
ElectroLight 2 is an ultralight motorglider with an Electravia electric propulsion system and a silent propeller. First flight was 21 December 2011 at Sisteron's airfield (Provence, France). With a Lithium-Polymer pack of 5.55 kWh (34 kg), the endurance was 1:35 and the altitude gain about 3,000 m (9,843 ft) at a best glide ratio speed of 90 km/h (56 mph).
Volta Volare GT4
The Volta Volare GT4 was announced in April 2012, but has not flown. It utilizes a standard canard pusher airframe and is expected that it will be able to fly up to 300 miles (480 km) on electric power alone. In hybrid mode, a supercharged 1.5-liter displacement gasoline engine with a 23 US gallons (87 l) fuel tank will back up the electric system and extend the GT4’s range up to 1,000 miles (1,600 km).
The French APEV Pouchelec is an electric development of the APEV Pouchel Light, powered by a 15 kW (20 hp) Agni Motors AGNI 119R electric motor and a Kokam Lithium-ion polymer battery pack, which gives a 30-minute flight endurance.
The Canadian Green1 electric motor glider trike was developed by eUP Aviation with a complete Electravia electric solution and had its inaugural flight on 8 December 2012 at Pitt Meadows Airport in British Columbia. Powered by a 19 kW (25 hp) electric motor and a 3.9 kWh lithium polymer battery, the single place ultralight with a hang gliding wing is capable of one hour of power flight which can be supplemented for greater time and distance with power-off soaring. Production delivery is forecast for the spring of 2013.
- Electric vehicle
- Green Flight Challenge
- Hydrogen-powered aircraft
- Radio-controlled aircraft
- Solar energy
- Power Beaming
- Noth, André (July 2008). "History of Solar Flight" (PDF). Autonomous Systems Lab. Zürich: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. p. 3. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
Günter Rochelt was the designer and builder of Solair I, a 16 m wingspan solar airplane ... 21st of August 1983 he flew in Solair I, mostly on solar energy and also thermals, during 5 hours 41 minutes.
- Taylor, John W R (1974). Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1974-75. London: Jane's Yearbooks. p. 573. ISBN 0 354 00502 2.
- Batrawy, Aya (9 March 2015). "Solar-powered plane takes off for flight around the world". Associated Press. Retrieved 14 March 2015.
- Renard, Charles; Arthur Constantin Krebs; Hervé Mangon (1884-08-18). "ACADÉMIE DES SCIENCES / séance du 18 août 1884 / NAVIGATION AÉRIENNE. - Sur un aérostat dirigeable." (in French). French Academy of Sciences.
1884 ... l'année dernière par M. Tissandier, qui le premier a appliqué l'électricité à la propulsion des ballons
- Day, 'Tubby'. "History of Electric Flight".
Published in 'Model Engineer' in 1909 ... oak propeller ... flown for eight minutes ... Colonel H. J. Taplin, ... 1957 ... first officially recorded electric powered radio controlled model flight
- Fisher, Arthur (January 1988). "Secret of perpetual flight? Beam-powered plane". Popular Science 232: 62. Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- electric HB-3
- CAFE Foundation 2011 CAFE Foundation Electric Aircraft Symposium V Announced
- Article in The Times: Air travel swiches to electricity
- Pioneer Alpi 300 electric conversion
- Grady, Matry (July 2011). "Electric Aircraft Advocates Share Ideas At AirVenture". AVweb. Retrieved 31 July 2011.
- Newcome, Laurence R. (2004). Unmanned aviation: a brief history of unmanned aerial vehicles. Retrieved 2009-09-23.
- Curry, Marty (March 2008). "Solar-Power Research and Dryden". Retrieved 2009-09-15.
- Boucher, Roland (n.d.). "Project Sunrise". Retrieved 2009-09-23.
- Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. (2008). "UFM/MAURO SOLAR RISER". Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- AIAA/SAE/ASME 20th Joint Propulsion Conference (1984). "AIAA paper 84-1429" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Solar Challenger (1980). "Solar Challenger" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Flightglobal Archive (1979). "UK‘s first solar aircraft takes off". Retrieved 2011-03-04.
- Goebel, Greg (January 2009). "SOLAR-POWERED UAVS: HALSOL & SOLAR HAPP". Retrieved 2009-02-08.
- Curry, Marty (March 2008). "Solar-Power Research and Dryden". Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- Geoffrey A. Landis, Human Powered Aircraft - Monarch Crew (accessed November 13, 2012)
- John Langford, A human powered speed aircraft using electrical energy storage. Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, MIT, 1984
- Bionic Bat - Stored energy human powered aircraft M. Cowley, AeroVironment, Inc., Simi Valley, CA; W. MORGAN, AeroVironment, Inc., Simi Valley, CA; P. MACCREADY, AeroVironment, Inc., Monrovia, CA Chapter DOI: 10.2514/6.1985-1447 Publication Date: 8 July 1985 - 11 July 1985
- Khammas, Achmed A. W. (2007). "Elektro- und Solarflugzeuge (1960 - 1996)". Buch der Synergie (in German). Retrieved 8 July 2010.
exakt 2.499 Solarzellen ausgestattet, die eine Leistung von 2,2 kW
- NASA Helios factsheet
- Goebel, Greg, "The Prehistory of Endurance UAVs", Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, chapter 12. Exists in the public domain.
- NAA record database
- "Aviation and Space World Records". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Moore, Bill (June 2004). "Sunseeker Seeks New Records". Retrieved 2008-02-08.
- Sunseeker (November 2008). "Sunseeker News". Retrieved 2008-12-22.
- "Sunseeker II". Retrieved 2009-03-10.
- "SunseekerII crosses the Alps". Retrieved 2009-05-23.
- Solar-powered Sunseeker II crosses the Alps FAI News, Tuesday, 5 May 2009 21:51
- People's Daily (Overseas Edition),Soarer Dr H.Y.L http://paper.people.com.cn/rmrbhwb/html/2007-04/06/content_12683008.htm
- China invent sky website, Private enterprises manufacturing the unmanned solar aircraft, http://www.inventsky.net/invent_text/0481.asp
- Institut für Flugzeugbau (November 2009). "Icaré this year was in top form.". Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Lange Flugzeugbau (n.d.). "Propulsion". Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- 06.09.2011: SWR.de The Research Aircraft Antares DLR H2 and Antares H3
- "2011 Berblinger competition".
- Solar Impulse website, Solar Aviation History
- Solar Plane Breaks Two-Night Flight Barrier Renewable Energy World, July 5, 2005
- "Record solar plane's first 'hop'". BBC News. 3 December 2009.
- Grady, Mary (June 2009). "Solar Impulse Unveiling Set For Friday". Retrieved 2009-06-25.
- Pew, Glenn (June 2009). "Solar Impulse Is Revealed". Retrieved 2009-06-29.
- "Solar powered plane makes history - Switzerland - RFI". Retrieved 2012-03-31.
- [dead link]
- "Solar plane's night test success". BBC News. 2010-07-08.
- "Solar plane completes maiden intercontinental trip". Reuters. 5 June 2012. Retrieved 6 June 2012.
- "Solar Impulse Completes World Record Flight from Spain to Morocco". CleanTechnica. 6 June 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- "SOLAR PLANE COMPLETES 2ND LEG OF TRIP IN TEXAS". Associated Press. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- "Solar Plane Completes Longest Leg of Cross-Country Flight". Yahoo News. Retrieved 23 May 2013.
- Al Wasmi, Naser (25 September 2014). "Pilots to take off from Abu Dhabi for historic solar-powered flight". The National. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
- Pew, Pew (December 2007). "APAME Announces Electric Flight". Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- APAME (December 2007). "Worldwide premiere: first aircraft flight with electrical engine". Retrieved 2008-01-20.
- "Test Flug mit dem ElectroTrike" (PDF).
- Battery-Powered Plane "World's First Manned Flight on Dry Cell Batteries"
- David Robertson (2008-04-03). "Boeing tests first hydrogen powered plane". London: The Times.
- Niles, Russ (April 2008). "Boeing Flies Fuel Cell Aircraft". Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- "Boeing Announces Partners for Fuel Cell Demonstrator Airplane Project". Retrieved 2008-05-13.
- Amos, Jonathan (2010-07-23). "'Eternal plane' returns to Earth". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-07-23.
touched down at 1504 BST ... on Friday ... took off ... at 1440 BST (0640 local time) on Friday, 9 July
- Amos, Jonathan (2010-07-17). "Zephyr solar plane flies 7 days non-stop". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-07-17.
- QinetiQ Group PLC (n.d.). "Zephyr - QinetiQ High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)". Retrieved 2008-09-14.
- Amos, Jonathan (2008-08-24). "Solar plane makes record flight". BBC News. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
- Grady, Mary (December 2010). "Solar Drone Sets Endurance Record". AvWeb. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
- "Aviation and Space World Records". Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Retrieved 14 October 2013.
- Grady, Mary (June 2009). "Italian Electric Airplane Reaches 155 MPH". Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- DigiSky Srl (June 2009). "250 km/h: 100% eco-friendly aircraft sets world record". Retrieved 2009-06-18.
- China People Website, "Green Pioneer" fills in the gaps in China, http://www.people.com.cn/GB/kejiao/42/153/20021107/860761.html
- China <Science and Technology Daily>, Question: how far does the solar-powered aircraft fly in the end?, http://www.stdaily.com/oldweb/gb/dengxiaoping/2005-12/06/content_463353.htm
- O'Callaghan, Jonathan (2013-09-17). "Airbus unveils plans for battery-powered PLANES within the next 20 years | Mail Online". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
- Bertorelli, Paul (2014-04-24). "Airbus Announces Electric Aircraft". Avweb. Retrieved 2014-04-28.
- Grady, Mary (June 2010). "EADS Unveils Electric, Aerobatic, Four-Engine Airplane". Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- Grady, Mary (September 2010). "First Flight For Four-Engine Electric Airplane". Retrieved 9 September 2010.
- "Electric Cri-Cri Breaks Own World Electric Speed Record".
- Warwick, Graham (June 2011). "All-Electric e-Genius Gets Airborne". Aviation Week & Space Technology. Retrieved 13 June 2011.
- Sigler, Dan (May 2011). "Ingenious e-Genius". CAFE Foundation. Retrieved 14 June 2011.
- Pew, Glenn (July 2011). "Electric Aircraft Outbreak, Speed Or Distance". AVweb. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
- ENFICA-FC Official Website
- "E-Fenix, the Two-Seater Trike".
- NASA's Puffin Is a Stealthy, Personal Tilt-Rotor Aircraft, Clay Dillow, Popular Science, 2010-01-19.
- Charles Q. Choi (January 19, 2010). "Electric Icarus: NASA Designs a One-Man Stealth Plane". Scientific American. Retrieved 2010-01-21.
- NASA TV's This Week @NASA, August 13, 2010-08-13, accessed 2010-09-10.
- Pew, Glenn (July 2011). "Taurus G4 Aims For 400 Passenger Miles Per Gallon". AVweb. Retrieved 14 July 2011.
- Niles, Russ (August 2011). "Four-Place Electric Airplane Flies". AVweb. Retrieved 15 August 2011.
- Grady, Mary (September 2011). "NASA Awards $1.35 Million For Efficient Flight". AVweb. Retrieved 5 October 2011.
- Luxembourg Special Aerotechnics
- Electravia MC30E
- "Microlights". Fai.org. Retrieved 2012-05-31.
- Sigler, Dean: Dale Kramer and his electric Lazair, Kitplanes, Volume 28, Number 12, December 2011, pages 31-35. Belvoir Publications. ISSN 0891-1851
- "Challenges of Aircraft Hybridization". IDTechEx. Retrieved 2013-04-29.
- "Vertiflite, March/April 2012 - AHS Online Store". Vtol.org. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
- Project Firefly
- "AHS - Sample Vertiflite article: Project Zero". Vtol.org. 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2013-04-28.
- Grady, Mary (18 March 2015). "NASA's Electric Airplane Project Moves Forward". avweb.com. Aviation Publishing Group. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- AliSport (n.d.). "Silent Club > Electric Self-launch Sailplane". Retrieved 2009-11-04.
- Grady, Mary (April 2008). "Electraflyer Flies Trike, Motorglider On Battery Power". Retrieved 2008-04-13.
- Electric Aircraft Corporation (2007). "ElectraFlyer Technical details". Archived from the original on 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2008-04-13.
- Pew, Glenn (June 2008). "Electric Power For Experimentals, Perhaps LSA's". Retrieved 2008-06-27.
- Van West, Jeff (April 2009). "First Electraflyer For Sale On eBay". Retrieved 2009-04-24.
- Grady, Mary (April 2010). "Electric Flight Update From Sun 'n Fun". Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- Sonex Aircraft (July 2007). "Sonex Aircraft, LLC and AeroConversions Unveil E-Flight Initiative for Sport Aircraft Alternative Energy Research & Development". Retrieved 2008-06-06.
- Pew, Glenn (December 2010). "Sonex Flies Electric Airplane". AvWeb. Retrieved 6 December 2010.
- "Sonex Aircraft Hornet's Nest Research and Development". Retrieved 22 October 2011.
- Grady, Mary (July 2009). "Electric Flight Update: Flightstar Ultralight First Flight, Yuneec Starts U.S. Flight Testing". Retrieved 2009-07-23.
- Grady, Mary (July 2009). "Yuneec Electric LSA Hopeful Debuts At AirVenture". Retrieved 2009-07-29.
- Lange Aviation GmBH (2009). "Lange Aviation News". Retrieved 18 April 2010.
- "GreenWing International eSpyder". GreenWing International. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- "Flightstar e-Spyder Makes First Flight". EAA. 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- Boric, Marino (2013-07-29). "GreenWing International Taking Orders for the eSpyder Electric Aircraft". EAA. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- Paur, Jason (2013-08-01). "You Can Finally Buy an Electric Airplane, and It’s Just $40K". WIRED. Retrieved 2013-10-11.
- Icaro 2000 srl, (n.d.). "Icaro 200 Trike". Retrieved 8 December 2011.
- Schempp-Hirth Flugzeugbau Arcus-E
- Grady, Mary (October 2010). "Electric 172 May Fly Early Next Year". AvWeb. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
- Bye Energy - The Green Flight Project
- "Electric Cessna Makes Multiple Flights on Lithium Batteries". Evworld.Com. 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2013-03-22.
- Battery powered plane gets a test flight - Elektra One - D-MELN
- Niles, Russ (January 2011). "Elektra One Nearing First Flight". AvWeb. Retrieved 10 January 2011.
- Grady, Mary (February 2011). "Pipistrel Launches Electric Motorglider". AvWeb. Retrieved 17 February 2011.
- Grady, Mary (April 2011). "Lindbergh Prize Goes To Pipistrel". AvWeb. Retrieved 21 April 2011.
- Electravia ElectroLight2
- "ElectroLight2 Helps Vintage Gliders Motor Aloft". EAA. January 12, 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-16.
- Fletcher, Seth (2012-04-30). "Inside The First Production-Ready Electric Airplane". Popular Science. Retrieved 2012-05-07.
- Bayerl, Robby; Martin Berkemeier; et al: World Directory of Leisure Aviation 2011-12, page 93. WDLA UK, Lancaster UK, 2011. ISSN 1368-485X
- APEV (n.d.). "The Pouchelec, the electric Pouchel". Retrieved 19 September 2012.
- eUP Avaition [sic] (9 December 2012), Canada's First Electric Aircraft Flight, retrieved 10 December 2012
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Electrically powered aircraft.|
- Solar Flyer
- Sky-high Hydrogen Flyer
- The Evolution of Electrically-Powered Flight
- World’s First Hybrid Airplane Engine
- PhD Thesis on the "Design of Solar Powered Airplanes for Continuous Flight" - 19.2 MB download
- Supersonic Electric Aircraft
- Tesla Founder Elon Musk Dreams Of Electric Airplanes