Getting ready for Oshkosh, and my first in-person look at an exciting new electric airplane which you’ll be hearing a lot more about in the months ahead. *** The Yuneec International E430 electric-powered two seater is in Phase 2 test flight mode. *** The bird is fitted with a 54 hp electric motor that weighs only 37.5 lbs., uses six lipo (lithium polymer) batteries and is capable of 1.5 to 2 hours of flight. *** And that’s with a 400 pound payload! A 10-battery configuration should bring duration to 2.5 hours. The sleek highwinger sports a 45-foot wingspan. Could that mean motorglider cred too? It gives the LSA a 25:1 glide ratio. Handling in strong winds could be a challenge with that wing and V-tail, but we’ll have to wait and see. *** Should motorgliding be enabled in future, perhaps with a folding prop, restarts would be a breeze. There are only two moving parts in the engine – the bearings! – just a flick of the switch and the prop is spinning again. *** And think about charging time – three hours – and energy cost: around $5. Wow! *** Check out this video. It wouldn’t open in Firefox, but Internet Explorer worked. *** Sure, it’s early yet to get too amped up about this (pardon the pun). But we’ll be watching to see how this Chinese beauty and other electrics like the ElectraFlyer C and Waiex play out in the scheme of things. *** Plans are to certify the E340 first as an experimental homebuilt, but commercial production is the ultimate goal. *** Meanwhile, check out these flight test runs: durations of 15 minutes, max height = 975ft, take off in 265 feet at 40 mph, climb rate: 1320 fpm, cruise speed: 55 mph, top speed level flight: 93 mph. Are we dreaming electric yet, chilluns? *** – photos courtesy Yuneec International
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