July 31, 2013
By Thomas A. Horne
GreenWing International, a company formed by Chinese electric aviation firm Yuneec, showed off its new eSpyder E280 for the first time at EAA AirVenture. A much spiffed-up variant of the eSpyder prototype flown by AOPA Pilot (see “Electro Flight,” June 2012 Pilot), the airplane sports a 32-hp Yuneec electric motor and a new two-blade carbon fiber propeller. Also aboard is a BRS ballistic parachute, main gear brakes, a windshield and fairing, and a two-battery power system. The extra battery gives the eSpyder E280 a nominal two-hour endurance; charge time is two hours as well.
“The eSpyder is meant for recreational flying, and is available for purchase in the United States as an experimental, amateur-built kitplane,” said Tian Yu, president of Yuneec. “And it costs about $2 an hour to fly.”
Price is set at $39,990. The 45-knot airplane has already been certified in Europe under German ultralight regulations, which roughly resemble the U.S. rules for certifying light sport aircraft. Under those rules, max takeoff weights cannot exceed 1,042 pounds, and stall speeds must be no higher than 35 knots. In Europe, the eSpyder is sold as a manufactured airplane. For more information, visit the website or see the video on AOPA Live.
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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