Electric Planes Could Transform How We Fly

As the promise of electric cars grows, so too does the potential of electric planes. These aircraft, whose motors are far more efficient, reliable and quiet than internal combustion engines, could help transform how we fly – if a few problems could be solved.

Electric motors are three to four times better than internal combustion engines at driving an airplane propeller. And the reliability of electric motors is “perhaps 10 times or even 20 times that of a piston engine,” said Brien Seeley, president of the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation, an independent flight test agency which hosts NASA’s Centennial Challenges for Aeronautics.

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Record Flight for SkySpark Electric Powered Aircraft

Here’s an excellent video from the World Air Games in Turin, Italy showing a test flight flown by Space Shuttle astronaut (STS-75) Maurizo Cheli in the electrically powered SkySpark Single “Motor” Land aircraft (a lame attempt at aviation humor on py part). What makes this flight unique is that it has achieved an airspeed record of 155mph (250km/h) for an 8-minute long battery powered flight. The project plane, a Pioneer Alpi 300, is capable of 186 mph straight and level flight so expect to hear more record breaking flights. 

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