August 2, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
GreenWing International, an arm of Chinese electric airplane design firm Yuneec International, is now offering its eSpyder 280 for sale as an experimental-category, amateur-built kit in the United States. The single-seat eSpyder, based on the Flightstar ultralight, is powered by a 32-horsepower Yuneec electric motor and can reach cruise speeds of 45 to 50 mph. Battery endurance is approximately 1.5 hours and charging time is one hour.
Yuneec Chairman Tian Yu said GreenWing is planning on selling 25 eSpyder 280s this year. The price? $39,990. Kit shipments will begin sometime in the fourth quarter of 2013, Yu said.
Once the FAA amends its light sport aircraft rules to allow certification of electrically powered aircraft, GreenWing plans on moving the eSpyder to LSA certification status and offering it as a completed airplane. The eSpyder is already certified in Europe under German rules that closely resemble the United States’ LSA guidelines.
Next up will be GreenWing’s two-seat, 64-hp, electrically powered e430. Flight tests are currently under way to earn European certification, and hopes are that U.S. LSA certification will soon follow.
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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