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.