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Electric Aircraft Lost

Crash takes life of well-known German pilot

Martin Wezel and Tian Yu
Martin Wezel, left, and Tian Yu with the E1000.

May 19, 2011 — German pilot and aeronautical engineer Martin Wezel died Monday, May 9, 2011, following the crash of an electric aircraft slated to compete in this year’s NASA CAFE Green Flight Challenge. The accident happened at the Yuneec AISA base. The aircraft was a new model, the E1000, under development by Yuneec International. Wezel was working as a technical adviser for Yuneec.

An initial investigation indicates a structural failure of the tail section of the aircraft occurred 10 seconds after takeoff at an altitude around 40 meters (130 feet), possibly caused by ground testing. The aircraft was equipped with a ballistic parachute system that did not deploy sufficiently because of the low altitude of the aircraft. Local authorities have started a full accident investigation and results will be published when the investigation is finished.

Tian Yu, president of Yuneec International, said, “I feel extremely sorry to have lost Martin. He was an extremely competent collaborator and most of all a very dear friend. Martin’s passion for flying was a constant inspiration to all. I offer my deepest sympathies and condolences to Petra, Martin’s wife; the Wezel family; and all who knew and worked with him.”

The E1000 also had been entered in the EAA Electric Aircraft Competition, to be held at AirVenture 2011.

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