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Electric aerobatic airplane sets climb recordElectric aerobatic airplane sets climb record

Walter Extra uses Siemens motorWalter Extra uses Siemens motor

Walter Extra, in addition to his feats of designing the famous line of Extra aerobatic aircraft and performing as a concert pianist, now has a time-to-climb record from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) in an electrically powered Extra 330LE.

Walter Extra, the famous aerobatic pilot behind the Extra series of aerobatic planes, has set a FAI world record in the new field of electric-powered planes. Photo courtesy of www.siemens.com/press.

In the air and without engine noise the experience is “almost silent,” Extra said in a press release.

Launching from Schwarze Heide Airport near Dinslaken, Germany, on Nov. 25, he flew a battery-powered airplane to 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) in 4 minutes and 22 seconds. The record was certified on Dec. 6 in a class of aircraft weighing 1,100 pounds (500 kilograms) to 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms). The aircraft, first flown only six months earlier, used a new electric motor from Siemens. The motor was announced in Munich in March 2015.

“This day will change aviation,” Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at Siemens, said at the time of the first flight. “This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown.” The aircraft climbed at an average of more than 2,200 feet per minute.

Photo courtesy of www.siemens.com/press.

Siemens developed a new type of electric motor that weighs only 110 pounds but delivers a continuous output of 260 kilowatts (348 horsepower) to power the Extra aerobatic airplane. That is five times more than previous comparable systems, the company claimed in a press release.

The companies claimed that an electric-powered future for some aircraft is now possible, a claim heard many times in the past. A press release issued by the companies said a 100-passenger short-haul aircraft on 600-mile routes is now possible “by 2030.”

Siemens said the company joined with Extra Flugzeugbau because aerobatic airplanes are “particularly well suited” to taking components to their limit, “testing them and enhancing their design.”

Photos with this story were taken by the companies last June.

Alton Marsh

Alton K. Marsh

Freelance journalist
Alton K. Marsh is a former senior editor of AOPA Pilot and is now a freelance journalist specializing in aviation topics.
Topics: Single Engine, Aerobatics, Electric

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