January 4, 2011
By Thomas A. Horne
German manufacturer PC-Aero has rolled out its new Elektra One, an electrically powered single-seater that was first announced in April 2010. Using lithium-polymer batteries, and a motor with 16 Kilowatt (21 horsepower) takeoff power, the Elektra One should be able to cruise at 86 knots and fly for three hours, said PC-Aero’s Calin Gologan. The brushless motor’s electronic controls let the pilot set the propeller for flight at a constant torque setting, in much the same way that conventional constant-speed propellers can be set for optimum climb and cruise power.
PC-Aero is apparently confident of the Elektra One’s future. “Our goal is to build a practical, carbon-neutral airplane that’s at the forefront of technology,” Gologan added. In addition to the green aspects of the airplane, PC-Aero is advancing the concept of a solar-powered hangar, designed by SolarWorld of Bonn, Germany. While in the hangar, the airplane’s batteries can be recharged by means of rooftop-mounted solar panels.
This summer the airplane will be entered in the NASA/CAFÉ-sponsored Green Flight Challenge in California. The winner of the competition stands to pick up a $1.5 million prize.
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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