German 'Elektra One' Aircraft Makes First Flights
Calin Gologan congratulates test pilot Jon Karkow after the successful first flight of the Elektra One electric aircraft. Photo courtesy PC-Aero
First flight of the Elektra One – Photo by Jean-Marie Urlacher
March 31, 2011 — The Elektra One, a single-seat, electric-powered aircraft from German company PC-Aero, made its first flight on March 19 at the Airport Augsburg, Germany, then flew an extended, 30-minute flight around the patch four days later, March 23. PC-Aero claims the aircraft will provide more than three hours flight endurance with a range of more than 400 kilometers (about 250 miles).
Jon Karkow, well-known test pilot, was at the controls for the first flight and said the aircraft was stable and had good control and landing characteristics. Karkow flew to an altitude of 500 meters (1,640 feet) at a climb rate of 400 fpm. Norbert Lorenzen was pilot of the March 23 flight.
Calin Gologan, PC-Aero CEO and developer of the Elektra, commented, “Our expectations have been exceeded. We are overjoyed.”
The electric drive system, including a 13.5-kilowatt (continuous) brushless electric motor (16-kilowatt maximum power), controller, battery management, and three-blade propeller comes from Geiger Engineering of Germany. The airframe is made from lightweight composites and weighs in at 100 kilograms empty, including the motor. The landing gear is a single, center wheel. The aircraft will soon get a new variable pitch propeller and a retractable gear.
“With the Elektra One and the existing technology it is possible to fly electric without CO2 emission and without noise for over three hours,” Gologan said. “In addition, in comparison to a classic aircraft, the operating costs are much lower. This is very interesting for flying clubs.
“This is the future of leisure aviation as a bridge to the next step: electric transportation.”
Part of that equation is a solar hangar that will recharge the aircraft’s batteries, and attendees at AERO Friedrichshafen April 13-16 can see the solar hangar and Elektra One at the PC-Aero exhibit. The company says the aircraft-hangar combination would come on the market for less than 100,000 euros (around $141,000).
Test pilot Karkow is also expected to fly the Elektra One during the Berblinger Flight Competition at Friedrichshafen/Messe Airport on April 15. The aircraft is also entered in the NASA/CAFE-Green Flight Challenge in Santa Rosa, California, July 11-17.
The aircraft is in the German Ultralight LTF-UL-category. Low noise operation (less than 50 decibels) is provided by the electric engine in combination with low propeller rpm (less than 1,500 rpm in cruise).
Number of seats: 1
Maximum weight: 300 kilograms
Wing span: 8.6 meters
Wing surface: 6.4 square meters
maximum engine power: 16 kilowatts
Empty weight (without batteries): 100 kilograms
Max. Batteries 100 kilograms
Payload: 100 kilograms
Max. Range: 400-plus kilometers
Max. Endurance: 3-plus hours