Electric airplane competition now fully charged

January 3, 2008

Electric airplane competition now fully charged

By Alton K. Marsh

First it was ballooning legend Bertrand Piccard announcing that his piloted solar-powered airplane, Solar Impulse , would fly nonstop around the world in 2011.

Now Lisa Airplanes in France, currently developing a “Hy-Bird” airplane using both fuel cell and 10 percent solar energy, says it can beat Piccard’s flight by at least two years.

That could beat a Boeing project in which Boeing’s partner in Spain plans to fly a fuel-cell-powered Dimona glider built by Diamond Aircraft.

That provides a complete range of aircraft from all-solar ( Solar Impulse) to a mix (Hy-Bird) to all fuel cell (Boeing-Spain). Lisa Airplanes also plans civil sales of its Akoya, the same airframe shape as is planned for the Hy-Bird.

January 3, 2008