January 9, 08
First Autonomous Electric Motor 30 Mile Flight In France

On December 23rd Pilot Christian Vandamme took the first historic flight of the Electra F-WMDJ from the Aspres sur Buech airfield in France, the Electra is equipped with an electrical engine using Lithium polymere batteries.

This 48 minutes flight over more than 30 Miles realized in closed circuit is the world premiere flight of this type.

This exceptional technological progress in the leisure aviation sector proposes an alternative solution without precedent to the current thermic engines for aircrafts requiring a 15 to 50ch power. This flight uses the electrical engine for light aircrafts respecting the environmental context and the control of energy costs.

The French engineers team who is behind this project use the experience and skills of the ACV Aero Service firm, ELECTRAVIA creation firm, and the APAME (association for the promotion of Electrical engine aircrafts). These innovative works led by Anne Lavrand, ELECTRA project chief, are supported by PEGASE and CAPENERGIES competitivity poles and gained from ONERA researches in the domain of silent propellers.

ELECTRA is NOT the first AIRCRAFT to be equipped with an electric engine. There was previously motoplaneurs, gliders with engines, platforms of experiment (mostly equipped with photovoltaic panels), some paramotors. In all, ther were more than about sixty projects in the world since the 1960s.

However, the flight of ELECTRA really constitutes a world premiere, because:

- It is the first electric AIRCRAFT with batteries which will have an airwothiness certificate (and not a glider, motoglider,...);

- Its autonomy (48 mn ) is the most important never reached on batteries (and not thanks to photovoltaic systems);

- One of the challenge was to scale up electric drive to equip passenger - carrying conventional aircraft of the kind flown by recreational pilots.

The most important thing for APAME is not to say "we are the first", but to prove it's possible now for everyone.

And now ? There is a lot of work to be made before seeing of numerous ultralights and small planes flying with an electric engine ! But this flight shows that it's possible.

Aircraft "ELECTRA" registreted F-WMDJ :
- One-seater
- Homebuilt construction, in wood and fabrics
- Wing span : 9 m
- Length : 7 m
- Weight of the aircraft without batteries: 134 kg
- Maximal weight for take off : 265 kg
- Cruise speed : 90 km/h

Electrical engine :
- Disk brush electrical motor of 18 kW
- Lithium - Polymer Batteries (total weight of batteries : 47 kg - quick charge : 45 minutes)
- Special ground-adjustable propeller ARPLAST