Evektor’s SportStar was the very first to win Special LSA approval and the company since established a long tradition of constantly updating the design (see all our coverage to follow this). The latest, which company designers thought was just a demonstration project, is EPOS, an electric powered version of SportStar. The idea was so well received, they sold 10 at the Aero 2013 show. Here you can see our interview about the details of the electric installation.
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Yunec International — eSpyder electric airplane (2013)
You might see the Flightstar ultralight in this aircraft and you’d be correct. Now owned by Yuneec International, the design has evolved into the eSpyder, a solely electric-powered aircraft and we believe it is the very first to win certification as an electric airplane (by the German-sanctioned authority called DULV). We speak with Flightstar designer Tom Peghiny about his creation and its systems.
es-Electric Sports — eLift electric propulsion
Some of the very lightest aircraft at the huge Aero Friedrichshafen 2013 event were those for hang gliding or light trike flying. They were also electric powered, proving again the idea that lightweight flying machines can employ electric power today. In this video we look at several variations on the theme and hear about special features to make electric power work.
Phoenix Air — electric ePhoenix (2013)
We know the elegant Phoenix, a sleek motorglider that also enjoys flying powered cross country flights (more on an especially long flight in another video). At Aero 2013 we had a chance to visit with Martin Stepanek about Phoenix Air’s pure-electric aircraft called the ePhoenix. Martin helps us understand the details of electric power in a modern, efficient Light-Sport Aircraft.
Electric Aircraft — ULS electric motorglider (2013)
Like many of you, we began admiring this handsome motorglider at AirVenture 2012 where it made a first appearance. How could you not like these lines? After realizing this was another in Randall Fishman’s line of electric-powered aircraft, interest grew even more intense. You can watch our earlier video but in this version we find out more about flying the ULS and we see scenes of Randall flying in the new Paradise City at Sun ‘n Fun.
Electric Aircraft Corp — Electraflyer ULS
Randall Fishman is widely considered the pioneer of electric aircraft, having demonstrated — and regularly flying — his Electraflyer trike at Oshkosh 2007. Now in his fourth generation, Randall’s Electraflyer ULS is the best yet, in my opinion. We get a chance to hear about its development and examine it closely. It’s so new (summer 2012) that his website doesn’t cover it yet but more will follow, he assures us.
Earthstar — eGull (electric power)
Mark Bierle is one of the most talented designers I have ever met. The modest, soft-spoken Californian makes a line of the best-flying and genuinely light aircraft in the USA. He’s also worked in powerplant design and has now turned his agile mind toward electric power. We talk with him at some length about the advantages of electric-powered light aircraft and what Mark expects for the future.
Electric Power — eLazair at AirVenture 2011
A vintage ultralight from the 1980s, the Lazair, returns in the hands of original designer, Dale Kramer, who has now removed the two small gasoline engines and replaced them with electric motors and batteries. Our video provides the details of how Kramer reformed his design and how crowds at AirVenture 2011 responded to the surprise debut.
Racing Down Electric Avenue … Here Comes Airbus
At the recently concluded Palm Springs Expo, a keynote address was provided by George Bye, the man behind the Sun Flyer project that aims to put electric two seaters into flight schools. Pipistrel is already selling into this market with its Electro (video) and while only a small number of aircraft are in use, the race is on for more … much more.
Airbus made big news back in July when a race developed to see who would cross the English Channel first in an electric powered airplane. Of course, the whole thing was a bit moot because it had been done years before. Longtime electric pioneer Eric Raymond of Sunseeker Duo noted, “It was already done in 1981 by the Solar Challenger, which flew from Paris to London at 14,000 feet. [Famous hang glider pilot and manufacturer Gerard] Thevenot even flew an electric trike across.
What’s with FAA’s Worry Over Electric Airplanes?
I’m always impressed with good turns of phrase and cleverly-worded presentations. Given that I am a writer, I suppose that doesn’t surprise you. However, I am even more impressed when someone can present a concept in such clear language that everyone gets it right away. Following is such a story.
My longtime friend and fellow board member, Tom Peghiny, participated in our annual Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association board of directors meeting at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, where EAA kindly provides a quiet, air-conditioned space for our group to meet.
LAMA has four initiatives that the association is pursuing*. One of them is trying to break the logjam of electric propulsion
In an FAA-organized gathering on this and other subjects at AirVenture 2014, industry experts observed that FAA never intended to block electric power. Agency rulewriters were intent on preventing use of turbine engines on LSA so the regulation specifies reciprocating engines only, effectively blocking electric power even if doing so was never the goal.
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