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.