Fishman, a retired jeweler from New Jersey, has been flying planes and gliders for 30 years. In the mid-1990s, he put together a motorized glider kit, but it was noisy and undependable. It sat in storage until two years ago, when he replaced its gas engine with an 18-horsepower electric motor he and a colleague designed to minimize noise and vibration. He then raised the plane body eight inches off the ground to accommodate a 45-inch propeller, increasing the prop's thrust by more than half. He also designed battery packs to hold two 75-volt lithium-ion-polymer batteries, which can juice up in midair and propel the plane at 70 miles an hour for 90 minutes on a single charge.
Now Fishman is taking his creation to the public. He sells kits on his Web site (electraflyer.com) that include the batteries and electrical propulsion components. By mid-2010, he plans to offer ready-to-fly electric two-seat planes.
That's a cool innovation!
BTW, This plane is a oversized electric RC plane. But I like it, that's the way we have to save the planet.
This is awesome! It does look like an oversized RC plane lol. The fact that it can recharge itself is quite a feat in this technology. The wingspan is large enough to house some solar panels as well... why not? lol
I hope someone can explain the purpose of regenerative braking on the propeller.
My understanding of aerodynamics of a plane is: In order to create lift, airflow must be moving over a lifting surface, which in turns creates low air pressure....yadda yadda.
A windmill generator is an example of the same type of mechanism the plane supposedly will use to recharge the batteries. A windmill converts air flow into electrical energy by taking some of the energy out of the wind and converting it too electrical power. The air that leaves a windmill is going slower after passing through the vanes.
Using regenerative braking would decrease the speed of the wind, and therefore cause the plane to lose altitude. Not a smart idea for cruising, because you would have to increase throttle to regain lost altitude.
Although it might be cool to park the plane on the ground with the nose facing into a head wind, and get a free recharge.
i think this is pretty cool, a bunch of ppl may be over reacting on the whole global warming thing but this will lowwer the amount of Co2 we put in the atmosphere. maybe we'll start to shut up the ppl who think we are destroying our planet and all tht nonsense
being the first full electric airplane to hit the market, this gets my
GREEN N' SMART seal of aproval.
ps. asuming its made of metal, i'd switch to carbon fiber and/or fiberglass and put some solar panels in the wings, because the cruise range isn't too great.
On an ordinary aeroplane you'd be right - the regenerative ability would hardly be used (except in the descent). But remember this was a glider. All the prop is doing when in regenerative mode is creating more drag. If you're in a wicked thermal or other lift, you may not mind generating a little more drag in order to charge the battery.
wowww very cool technology using high capacity batteries has finally reached.
This is very cool, but it isn't going to make any noticeable difference to C02 levels. that was not its intention.
its a powered glider, ok? making small recreational aircraft that give out very little emissions anyway electric is not about global warming. its about a quieter,cheaper and more reliable flight for a lucky individual.
not mass global transit.
not even close.
This is a well-designed plane, and with its large prop it will be quiet and efficient, but it is not the first electric-powered airplane and not even the first electric-powered production plane-- Sonex sells a small two-seater that is available in several configurations, including a fully electric battery-powered mode. It can fly about an hour on one charge.
Timias: thermals are not reliable for much more than recreational flying, since they aren't likely to be of much help when trying to fly cross-country, but can nevertheless greatly extend flying time. Since batteries alone cannot give as great a range as fuel can, the regenerative prop makes this plane much more practical.
But by using both a regenerative prop and solar panels, electric planes might be able to increase their range in daytime clear weather to ranges even greater than can be achieved with fueled aircraft. Since aircraft can receive more sunlight than you can get on the surface of the earth, and would be less affected by clouds since a pilot can deliberately avoid clouds and stay in clearer areas, solar power from thin-film panels could conceivably give electric aircraft an overall advantage over fueled aircraft.
soccer07: the only way you can believe global warming is not going to be a major problem for everyone very soon is that you have your head buried in the sand. The only reason areas such as the US and Europe do not yet notice significant temperature changes is that the poles are melting rapidly, and the melting ice is cooling areas closer to the equator. When all of the ice is melted-- and that may happen in just a few years-- the dark waters and land where the ice and snow once were will no longer reflect light back into space, and will instead be heated by sunlight, and may create runaway global warming unless we deliberately work to prevent it from happening. Our entire planet may begin cooking like an oven, and once temperatures tip too far, it may be impossible to reverse.
How about a small, efficient, electrically started 2-stroke engine hidden away to generate more electricity. You would trade more weight and more environmental impact for extended range.
This is too cool! =)~
And i quote, "This plane is a oversized electric RC plane."
Ok, first off, Why would it be called a silent electric plane if it were rc? I don't think there is a single RC plane out there that isn't! And second off, did you miss the whole 'electric two-seat planes' part? It's called a kit, but it is manned!
um, i work at an airport, and if this has an hour of battery, than, 15min to take off. taxi and such. and very unsafe cause sometimes it takes a few times to land with cross winds. If you have to re rout to a dif airport its not going to make it. if you do take a few times to land. each circle could take a good 5 min. this really isnt safe. kinda a good idea but an hour isnt much when it comes to safty. so i would say keep trying.
This is but the first step toward the Green Plane of the future. 70 miles an hour is a good speed but longer air time is needed. It is perfect however for short hops or just to get the thrill of flight!
It is actually a Moni Motorglider that has been converted with an electric motor. John Monnett designed the plane and its newer cousin is the Sonex Xenos. The gliders will sail unpowered quite nicely so a few hours of flight should be fairly easy if conditions allow. Cool!
BraverThought, I would guess that this plane would be used at a small airport or glider strip where taxi times and waiting to land wouldn't be much of an issue.
This is so interesting!
Even though it is unlikely that this is going to have any short to medium term commercial application in the airline and cargo industries, I feel very encouraged to see that people are putting their minds and economic resources behind these necessary efforts to move us away from carbon based fuels.
This was a very interesting article. It is amazing how many innovative new ideas and inventions are bred from the migration away from fossil fuels in today's world, such as this plane. Just a few years ago, to think that a fully- operational plane could be run silently and entirely on electricity would have been to think crazy thoughts, but now, here we are. On top of those key features, this device can also be charged mid flight, allowing not only extra flying time, but also added comfort, knowing that if you don't land on time, you simply need to flick a switch and generate enough energy to land. Another exciting thing about inventions such as these is that, depending on the cost of the actual device, further improvements upon such a design could ultimately lead to the practical use and own-age of personal aircrafts. The only problems I had with the article were that prices were not listed, but otherwise, this is a very interesting article in a very interesting field.
This is such an epic moment in Aviation history! A completely electric plane helps to limit the use of fossil fuels and thus help save the environment. This achievement might even help to lower the cost of air travel in the very near future. This is definitely a milestone for air travel as a whole and might completely save the industry as well.
All you folks who really have it in for CO2, think that fossil fuels are intrinsically evil, and that man burning anything is destroying the planet need to be sent to a Stalinist style re-education camp.
Billdale in LA gave us a nice little explanation about how the melting ice caps are cooling the equatorial ocean waters and giving us the illusion of global cooling. Hey Bill, Antarctica sure as heck isn't melting. Warm ocean currents undercut some ice floes into the sea for awhile, but that effect is stalled out. What I have to say about Greenland and the summer meltback of Arctic ice is this--watch for a few more years how this stuff is trending. The North Pole isn't about to melt. Russia is building oil tankers built like ice breakers because they know that Arctic oil isn't going to be easy, but they are going to go get it anyhow. Russians think global warming is a joke, but they are skilled enough at larceny to enjoy the carbon credit and cap'n trade con games.
Meanwhile, I sure am getting tired of being told that I have my head in the sand on global warming. The zealots who think humans are to blame for everything even when they are not are the ones who need to put one hand firmly on each buttock and push until their heads pop out.
This is amazing. This is going to revolutionalize the air travel. Make it more comfortable, and best of all, it would reduce the cost of air travel a lot, as 70% of the cost of air travel is the fuel. Love it!!
Find great deals at:
15 hp is equal to 11,190 watts. Typical solar panels get around 13 watts per sq ft. Lets say you can fit 50 sq feet of solar on the thing that's 650 watts. So I suppose you could increase your range from 93 miles to 110 miles. To me the real benefit of putting solar on it would be to not have to find a place to plug the thing in.
Well as an alternative to the solar powered electric plane, the wood burning plane, the horse drawn plane and the get out and push plane designs, it's a pretty good idea. Yep, I think it should be considered for it's merits, and given an award of some type.
Ok I noticed alot of people worried about safly landing with only an hour of battery. I tell you you can be completely drained and the "GLIDER" will still land. That is what gliders with no motor at all do. The motor is just to take off instead of having a tow plane/truck, and maybe to move around a bit to find a better thermal.
You solar panel nay sayers arn't thinking that the plane may be up for hours. Hours with the motor off, the windmill on, why not solar as well. Thin flexable panels may add weight so more wing span might be needed. But you lazies arn't thinging the obviouse peddle generator. Human powered flight has been around for a few decades. I was just looking at a hybrid bicycle (electric/peddle) and thought why not here.
For an around the world flight (hope to see this soon) all three would be great redundancy.
I'm a private/sport pilot and have been for 33 years. Finding an a/c that's affordable, fairly practical, fun, easy and safe to fly is difficult. The closest that I've come to it is the Evektor Sportstar but it rents-when you can find one-for $100 an hour. For those of us on a budget, about an hour's flight time is all we can afford. Something like the ElectraFlyer-C would meet the criteria I seek. I'd love to see something like this on the market and at rental locations.
That is awesome. I noticed someone brought up a good point on the braking system. My opinion on an upgrade would be to try to get that friction used from braking and covert it to energy. helping recharge your aircraft when you land. There was a good article on the new bullet trains and what they are planning on using as engines and brakes. It was last months Popular science mag. read that.