We had previously mentioned that the PC-Aero Elektra One would soon be taking its first flight and, less than three months later, it officially has. Twice! Piloted by Jon Karkow, the all-electric aircraft took to the skies over the Augsburg Airport in Germany with a set of initial flights in what the team terms its "internal" first flight.
On the 23rd, the controls were handed over to Norbert Lorenzen who conducted an "official" first flight. On the first first flight, the little bird eagerly winged its way 500 meters (1640 feet) upward with a climb rate of 400 feet per minute. On its next first flight it continued to please the PC-Aero team, staying aloft some 30 minutes while using only half the capacity of the 6 kWh battery installed. Design goals for a commercial model call for a three-hour flight time.
The Elektra One is about to be fitted with a new variable pitch propeller and fancy retractable landing gear but you can catch the flyer in action this April when it will appear at Aero 2011 in Friedrichshafen along with its solar hanger. It's also registered as a contestant of the "Berblinger-Prize 2011." Hit the jump for video footage of hot electric first flight action as well as the official press release.
ELEKTRA ONE performed successfully the First Flight
Electric Aircraft from PC-Aero flew 30 minutes - Flying with CO2 emission is now reality
The Electric Aircraft ELEKTRA ONE, developed by Calin Gologan, performed it's internal First Flight on Saturday, 19. Mar. 2011 at the Airport Augsburg/Germany. This First Flight was performed by the well known test pilot Jon Karkow. He did the first check for the flight performance and characteristics of the Electric Aircraft and briefed the german test pilot
Norbert Lorenzen for the next official First Flight on Wednesday, 23. Mar. 2011. On Wednesday for the first time the single-seater ELEKTRA ONE circled for 30 minutes in the air.
During its maiden flight, the ELEKTRA ONE climbed to over 500 meters, with 400 feet/min.
- completely silent, without noise. The Electric Aircraft used only about 3 kWh of energy from the total 6 kWh available on board.
At first the flight characteristics were tested. The next step involved the monitoring and evaluation of important parameters of the electric drive. "Our expectations have been exceeded", says Calin Gologan, CEO of PC-Aero GmbH/Germany. "We are overjoyed."
The Geiger Engineering company, located in Bamberg/Germany, developed the electric drive unit including electric motor HPD 13.5 (16kW maximum power), controller, battery management and propeller.
Also very satisfied was the test pilot, Jon Karkow, with the stability and controllability in the air and with the safe and good landing characteristics of the ELEKTRA ONE.
In the next weeks the ELEKTRA ONE will get a new variable pitch propeller and a retractable landing gear. This will give better flight performance. You can see our Electric Aircraft in combination with a Solar Hangar at the AERO 2011, The Global Show for General Aviation in Friedrichshafen/Germany (13.-16.04.2011). Our complete system allows a full CO2 emission zero flight.
Jon Karkow is one of the world's best test pilots. He was Project leader and test pilot for the around-the-world Virgin Global Flyer that won him a 2006 Aeronautics Laureate Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology. Most recently, he served as the Technical Program Manager for Virgin Galactic's commercial space program at Scaled Composites.
For the first flight of the ELEKTRA ONE at the Airport Augsburg, he came specifically to Germany. The 48-year-old it is, of the single-seater is expected to fly during Berblinger flight competition at the Aero in Friedrichshafen (April 2011) and at the NASA-/CAFE-Green Flight Challenge in California/USA (July 2011).
CO2 emission zero, without noise and low operating costs
"We do not have to wait for new technologies, we need only to integrate current components (lightweight structures with high-quality aerodynamics, light and modern electric motors and batteries) in a optimized system. Our ELEKTRA ONE is such a modern single-seat Ultralight Electric Aircraft in composite construction. With the ELEKTRA ONE and the existing technology it is possible to fly electric without CO2-emission and without noise for over three hours. In addition, in comparison to a classic aircraft, the operating costs are much lower", says Calin Gologan, developer of the ELEKTRA ONE . "This is very interesting for flying clubs."
Technical specifications and concept description
Electric Aircraft ELEKTRA ONE
ELEKTRA ONE, designed by Calin Gologan, for min. energy requirement at 160 km/h, is a one-seater Electric Aircraft in the German Ultralight LTF-UL-class.
ELEKTRA ONE is powered by an 13,5 kW- (continuous) brushless electric engine. The high performance, rechargeable battery provides an endurance of more than 3 hours and a range of more than 400 km. ELEKTRA ONE'S empty weight is 100 kg including engine and propeller, and has a maximum weight of 300 kg. For 100 kg battery the payload is still 100 kg.
Low noise operation (under 50 dB) is provided by the electric engine in combination with low propeller RPM (less than 1500 in cruise). ELEKTRA ONE is flying in combination with a Solar-Hangar completely without CO2 emission.The complete system (Aircraft + Solar-Hangar) will come on the market for less than 100.000 EUR. The operation cost per hour are less than 35 EUR or 0,2 EUR/km.
What do we expect from the electric mobility in the air ?
- environmental protection through elimination of CO2-emissions - low noise
- long range
- low operating costs
These goals have motivated us to start a revolution and realize: ELEKTRA ONE, a modern single-seat ultralight electric aircraft in composite construction.
With the existing technology it is possible to fly with an electric 1- or 2-persons aircraft without CO2-emissions and without noise for over three hours. In addition, in comparison to a classic aircraft, the operating costs are much lower. We do not have to wait for new technologies, we need only to integrate current components (lightweight structures with high-quality aerodynamics, light and modern electric motors and batteries) in a optimized system.
From the beginning we have defined bright ambitions:
- more than three hours flight time
- over 400 km range
- cruise at 160 km/h
- CO2-emission zero in conjunction with a solar hangar
- very low noise level (propeller speed for cruising at 1400 RPM)
- operating costs below 35 €/hour and 0.2 €/km
- a total system (aircraft + hangar + power) for less than 100,000 €
- very easy and safe to fly - attractive design
- number of seats: 1
- maximum weight: 300 kg
- wingspan: 8,6 m
- wing surface : 6,4 m2
- maximum engine power: 16 KW
- empty weight (without batteries): 100 kg
- max. batteries: 100 kg
- payload: 100 kg
- max. range: over 400 km
- max. endurance: over 3 hours
- modern composite glass-/carbon-structure
- advanced aerodynamic design
- best propeller efficiency (90%)
- light batteries
- highly efficient electric drive
- integration of new certification procedures
ELEKTRA ONE with Solar Hangar
The ELEKTRA ONE requires about 20 m² of photovoltaic-cells on the hangar roof (cost about 6,000 €), in order to fly more than 300 hours per year (conditions expected for southern Germany). Zero CO2-emission per year for the total balance is achieved. In less than eight years, the costs of solar cells are amortized. We call this concept "Green Village Airfield" - the future of electric flight for the sports- and leisure-aviation. Our goal is to offer for normal pilot a system including Electric Aircraft + Solar Hangar + Energy for less than 100.000 Euro. And operations costs for less than 35€/hour or 0.2€/km.
System Electric Aircraft + Solar Hangar
Our system - electric aircraft + solar hangar - is a clear message for the 4th revolution in the 4th dimension, the air. Practically, we only fly when the sun shines. Therefore, our system can also function independently of the grid. Our batteries are energy storage devices we use in the aircraft. Developing countries without electricity network infrastructure can therefore benefit most.
NASA-/CAFE- Green Flight Challenge 2011 (award: $ 1.5 million)
Team PC-Aero will participate in this competition, held in the summer of 2011 in California/USA (www.cafefoundation.org). This award, sponsored by NASA and doped with 1.5 million dollars is the world's largest price that will ever be awarded within the general aviation. The goal: to fly with a two-seater aircraft with less than 1 gallon* per 100 miles ** for more than 100 miles per hour and at a distance of 200 miles. A single-seat aircraft must fly with less than 0.5 Gallons/100 miles. A conversion factor of 33.7 kWh per gallon was used for Electric Aircraft.
* 1 gallon = 3.785 liter
** 1 mile = 1.61 km
Team PC-Aero NASA-Green Flight Challenge 2011
Einar Enevoldson, team leader: 30 years NASA-test pilot, engineer and test pilot GROB high altitude aircraft, sailplane high altitude record together with Steve Fossett.
Jon Karkow: He is one of the world's best test pilots. He was Project leader and test pilot for the around-the-world Virgin Global Flyer that won him a 2006 Aeronautics Laureate Award from Aviation Week & Space Technology. Most recently, he served as the Technical Program Manager for Virgin Galactic's commercial space program at Scaled Composites.
Calin Gologan: Designer ELEKTRA ONE, chief engineer
Tom Hamilton: Designer from the "Glasair", "Glastar" and "Kodiak"-Aircraft.
Sorin Mares: chief design team
Ekkehard Schmidt: manufacturer of the composite structure (ES Technik)
Jochen Steinbeck: manufacture of metal parts (company Rotortec GmbH)
Dr. Volker Kassera: CEO CFD Consultants GmbH and V-Plane engineering GmbH; one the best specialist in the world in high end aerodynamic CFD-calculations.
Klaus-Harald Fischer: former CEO GROB Aircraft company, one of the most experienced composite aircraft-designer in Germany (consulting engineer)
Dr. Birgit Weißenbach: Head of corporate communications
Official Participant at the Flight Competition "Berblinger-Prize 2011"
Venue: Airport Friedrichhafen / exhibition
Date: The flight competition will take place on Friday, April 15, 2011 (alternative date: Saturday, April 16, 2011), at Friedrichshafen/Messe Airport during the Aero-Global Show for General Aviation.
The day for the prize-giving is on Sunday, April 17, 2011 in Ulm Town Hall.
Visit us at the Aero 2011:
The Global Show for General Aviation
13.-16.04.2011 in Friedrichshafen
ELEKTRA ONE with Solar Hangar
Hall A7, Stand-Nr. 223
About PC-Aero GmbH:
The PC-Aero GmbH is a design&certification company. It is specialized in Structure Design, Development and Certification. The experience covers all classes of aircrafts: light, transport and military. The service ranges from the design and certification of single components (STC's) to a complete aircraft certification package. PC-Aero's expertise in design and development, certification and the experience with certification authorities enables this company to complete a structure certification process of a light aircraft in less than one year. By means of integrating the main structure design, tasks (aerodynamic/CFD, loads, structure calculation/FEM and structure tests) PC-Aero cut down the design/certification costs and time. It can finish the whole structure certification process in less than one year for an aircraft in the four-seater class. www.pc-aero.de
NASA- / CAFE- Green Flight Challenge: July 2011
The NASA Innovative Partnerships Program and the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation announced the CAFE Green Flight Challenge (CGFC), a flight efficiency competition for aircraft that can average at least 100 mph on a 200-mile flight while achieving greater than 200 passenger miles-per-gallon. The prize for the aircraft with the best performance will be $1.5 million. This is the largest prize ever offered for a general aviation competition. A $150,000 prize for best score by a bio-fueled aircraft is also offered.
The competition is slated for July 2011 at Charles M. Schulz Sonoma County Airport in Santa Rosa, California. A variety of innovative experimental aircraft that fly with either electricity, solar, bio-fuel or hybrid propulsion are expected to enter. Several major universities and EAA aircraft builders have already expressed their intention to form teams to compete.
NASA-Link: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2009/jul/HQ_09_178_Green_Aircraft_Challenge. html
CAFE-Link: http://cafefoundation.org/v2/main_home.php http://cafefoundation.org/v2/ea_eas_2010_main.php