April 18, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
Erik Lindbergh’s Lindbergh Electric Airplane Prize (LEAP) organization has awarded its annual prize for best electric airplane to the Pipistrel Taurus Electro, a two-seat Slovenian design that uses a retractable 54-horsepower electric motor to enable self-launches to soaring flight.
The Electro is a prototype for the Taurus Electro G2, another electrically powered motorglider that will have its first deliveries in June 2011. So far, seven of the $126,000 G2s have been ordered.
The Electro G2 is capable of flying for 30 minutes at full power, and then soaring at a best-glide-ratio speed of 57 knots. Empty weight is 675 pounds, max takeoff weight 1,212 pounds, and the airplane’s load factors are posted as plus-5.3 Gs and minus-2.65 Gs. Rolls from 45 degrees left to right take 3.9 seconds, Pipistrel says. Takeoff distance over a 50-foot obstacle is 869 feet, and the maximum climb rate is 610 fpm.
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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