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In-flight fire not to blame for electric aircraft accidentIn-flight fire not to blame for electric aircraft accident

Magnus eFusion preliminary report issuedMagnus eFusion preliminary report issued

Despite widespread media reports that a Magnus eFusion was on fire when it crashed this May in Hungary, the country’s transportation safety agency said in its preliminary report that the aircraft appeared to be operating normally.

Two Magnus eFusion aircraft, each powered by a Siemens electric motor, make a flyby at AERO Friedrichshafen in Germany in April. Photo courtesy of AERO Friedrichshafen.

The Magnus eFusion crashed near the Pecs-Pogany Airport on May 31 of this year, killing both occupants. Multiple press reports said the aircraft was on fire before it crashed. Fire, presumably from the on-board batteries, is a key safety concern of electric propulsion.

According to the safety agency’s report, an Appareo flight data recorder was recovered at the scene and captured video and basic flight parameters. It showed no abnormalities. The report said, “the video records available show neither smoke nor any sign of on-board fire (within the visual field of the camera); the displays related to the electric propulsion system showed normal operation; the large on-board multifunctional flight data display was in operation, as well as the on-board barometric instruments; there was no information relating to malfunction in the steering control systems; and there was no sign of technical malfunction of the airframe structure.”

The accident had raised fears among the fledgling electric propulsion community of an uncontained fire in what had been a successful airplane. The eFusion had more than 200 hours on the airframe when it crashed.

A Siemens electric motor was installed as the power source, and the company is not commenting on the accident, although it did readily cooperate with investigators.

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly

Ian J. Twombly is senior content producer for AOPA Media.
Topics: Electric

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