Picking up my electric aircraft coverage again with an email from Phoenix Air USA kingpin Jim Lee with the latest updates on the PhoEnix electric motorglider NASA/CAFE race entry, which just came out of the paint shop and has all its pretty parts put together…and a beautimous bird she is indeed.”We put the PhoEnix together,” Jim tells me, “my last day in Czech so we could finally see what it looks like. Man am I excited now! I can’t believe that I will be the one to fly such an amazing ship.” Color me green with envy. *** Jim’s deep and broad soaring background should stand him in good stead tweaking every last ounce of performance from the gorgeous, one-off soaring bird. *** He’s also got a few more details on his Phoenix blog. Here are some highlights: *** Conceived for the NASA CAFE Green Flight Challenge… “A race that offers big bucks for the winner ($1.65 million total), but with a bar set so high that it is unlikely that anyone will win it. But if any aircraft can do it, the PhoEnix can!” • A modified Schempp- Hirth Discus wing installed as a shoulder wing to make room for the… *** retractable gear; • Electrically driven gear, swings back into the wheel wells (the baggage compartment of the original Phoenix); •wings 14.5M (47.5 ft.) span, optimized for the 100 mph minimum required speed for the 200 mile race course; • race begins July 10 north of San Francisco. *** Finally, here’s Jim beaming at the end of Sun ‘n Fun last month after receiving the Outstanding Fixed Wing Light Sport Aircraft Award. *** Congrats James, it’s a worthy winner for sure!
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