Flightstar e-Spyder Makes First Flight
Fully meets ultralight regulations
The controller for the Yuneec electric motor is mounted on the side of the e-Spyder’s airframe. The top button on the left is the on/off switch. Below that is the disengage switch (orange button) and engage switch (green button) to engage the propeller. The gray sliding control is the throttle.
July 19, 2009 — Flightstar’s newest ultralight, the e-Spyder, powered by a Yuneec International electric motor, made its first flights over the weekend of July 17 to 19, and company president Tom Peghiny, who flew the ultralight, described the machine’s flight characteristics as “the best of any Flightstar I’ve flown.”
“It feels like Christmas to me,” Peghiny said with obvious enthusiasm for the project. “This little machine flies very well. Without the bulk of a two-stroke engine out front, there’s much less drag.”
Peghiny said the machine meets ultralight regulations. “We did some redesign work on the airframe to reduce weight so we could accommodate the weight of the battery pack, converting some parts to carbon fiber versus older materials, and we meet Part 103. It feels good to be working on an ultralight again,” he added.
The propulsion system includes a 20-kilowatt motor (approximately 27 hp), two 28-pound battery packs with lithium polymer batteries, and a controller. Peghiny described the recharging system as “very sophisticated.” “The Yuneec designers developed a very safe recharging system that balances the batteries via computer monitoring.” He noted that it takes about three hours to recharge the system, plugging it into a 220-volt circuit. Estimated flight time on a fully charged system is approximately 40 minutes.
Flightstar will display the ultralight at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh. “We hope to fly at Oshkosh,” said Peghiny, “and possibly confirm prices at that time.”