Extra 330LE Aerobatic Electric Plane Sets New Speed Records

1 week ago by Mark Kane 20

World’s first aerotow with an electric plane: Friday, March 24, 2017 at the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany – the Extra 330LE powered by the record-propulsion system from Siemens became the world’s first electric aircraft to tow a glider into the sky. The nearly silent aerotow piloted by Walter Extra took a type LS8-neo glider up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.

The Extra 330LE electric plane, equipped with a 260 kW Siemens motor, once again set some bnew world records (check previous ascent record here).

Extra 330LE electric plane

This time, the Extra 330LE set two speed records over a distance of three kilometers:

  • 337.50 km/h (nearly 210 mph) in the category “Electric airplanes with a take-off weight less than 1,000 kilograms.”
  • 342.86 km/h (213 mph) in a slightly modified configuration with an overall weight exceeding one metric ton

“On Thursday, March 23, 2017, the Extra 330LE aerobatic plane, powered by a propulsion system from Siemens, set two new speed records.

At the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany, the electric aircraft reached a top speed of around 337.50 kilometers per hour (km/h) over a distance of three kilometers. The speed achieved by pilot Walter Extra was 13.48 km/h faster than the previous record, which had been set by U.S. pilot William M. Yates in 2013.

The World Air Sports Federation (FAI) officially recognized the record flight in the category “Electric airplanes with a take-off weight less than 1,000 kilograms.” The Extra also set a new FAI world record in the category “above 1,000 kilograms”: in a slightly modified configuration with an overall weight exceeding one metric ton, test pilot Walter Kampsmann flew the electrically powered plane at a speed of 342.86 km/h.”

World’s first aerotow with an electric plane: Friday, March 24, 2017 at the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany – the Extra 330LE powered by the record-propulsion system from Siemens became the world’s first electric aircraft to tow a glider into the sky. The nearly silent aerotow piloted by Walter Extra took a type LS8-neo glider up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.

The other achievement, was the world’s first aero-tow with an electric plane. Reaching 600 meters took only 76 seconds.

“On Friday, March 24, 2017, the Extra 330LE gave another premiere performance by becoming the world’s first electric aircraft to tow a glider into the sky.

The nearly silent aerotow piloted by Walter Extra took a type LS8-neo glider up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.

“This aerotow provides further highly visible evidence of our record-setting motor’s performance capabilities,” said Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at the Siemens venture capital unit next47. “Just six such propulsion units would be sufficient to power a typical 19-seat hybrid-electric airplane.””

“The Extra 330LE, which weighs about 1,000 kilograms, serves as the flying test bed for the new propulsion system. As an aerobatic plane, it is particularly well suited for taking the components to their stress limits and for testing and enhancing them. Currently, there are no plans for series production of this electric plane.

Siemens is also contributing this technology to its joint project with Airbus in the area of electrically powered flight. In this connection, the two companies signed a collaboration agreement in April 2016. Electric propulsion systems are scalable, and Siemens and Airbus intend to develop hybrid-electric regional aircraft on the basis of this record-setting motor.

“By 2030, we expect to see the first planes carrying up to 100 passengers and having a range of about 1,000 kilometers,” explained Anton. Siemens is determined to establish hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft as a future area of business.”

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21 responses to "Extra 330LE Aerobatic Electric Plane Sets New Speed Records"

  1. Eco says:

    Are they making Extra 330LE Planes for the rest of us?

  2. mhpr262 says:

    I think modern solar powered planes, like the Solar Duo that can fly on nothing but sunlight all day, are even more fascinating.

  3. realistic says:

    “By 2030, we expect to see the first planes carrying up to 100 passengers and having a range of about 1,000 kilometers”

    Impossible.

    The first significantly “more-electric” airplane (MEA), the Boeing 7E7 (later 787) project technology plans were underpinned by the Sonic Cruiser development started in 2001. Also the basic industrial physics of forming large composite structures suitable for long-life aerostructures were well-established though defense programs. Demonstrations of key MEA technologies at Boeing and system supplier labs were well underway in 2003, and most key architecture decisions and suppliers chosen before Board approval of the launch in December of ’03.

    The first commercial flight took place in late October 2011, eight years after approval. The A350 is on a similar timeline.

    IF…
    (1) the necessary battery chemistry were avilable TODAY in a pilot production environment and demonstrating >2x present energy density PLUS 2500+ cycle life with rapid near zero-to-100% charges 500x per year.
    (2) charging could be accomplished at rates of ~50MW or more
    (2) there were thousands of hours of fully-electric flight experience, from military and/or general aviation under all imaginable environmental conditions, to support certification assertions; and
    (3) the Certification authorities had detailed plans for how to accomplish Airworthiness,
    (4) Airports had plans in place for 100’s of MW of electrical capacity for charging capability

    …then we would be able to see a single-aisle commercial electric aircraft in commercial service in 2030.

    But all those things are years away.

    2040? A good chance.

    This is not as bad as the flying car or the personal jet pack, but it grossly overstates rational expectations.

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      Most of this is pure ‘bumff’. Many electric aircraft are already certified; electric propulsion is infinitely simpler than turbofans, fly by wire controls and telemetry is already proven over decades- certification should be near- automatic.
      “Up to 100 passengers” could mean as few as 20; have to start somewhere…
      There are still thousands of noisy, slow, 40 passenger dirty turbo-props flying so these will be replaced by electrics by 2030. Easily.

      1. realistic says:

        “Many electric aircraft are already certified”

        Really? Name three. Remember that the Airworthiness Cert allowing you to fly a plane with the word “Experimental” over the door doesn’t count. Also since most electric aircraft we see at EAA etc., were they not Experimental, would fit into the category of Light Sport Aircraft, and of course you can not certify any electric aircraft as LSA yet. So which three are certified for other GenAv use or FAR Part 21?

      2. realistic says:

        “certification should be near- automatic”

        Popular Mechanics is a poor source of technical information.

  4. realistic says:

    In the One More Thing department…

    The article states “Siemens and Airbus intend to develop hybrid-electric regional aircraft on the basis of this record-setting motor”

    Why?

    If there were ever a market to be disrupted by autonomous autobiles, it’s regional air travel. The demand for this service will drop enormously.

    1. realistic says:

      Sorry about “autobiles”. Coulda sworn I typed in the “mo”.

    2. transit54 says:

      I’d guess because in a world of autonomous cars, there will still be a market for air travel. As an example, I live in DC and frequently visit northern VT. Drive time is around 10 hours, flying time is 1.5 hours. While I could likely make the trip in an autonomous car overnight if outfitted for sleeping, there’s still plenty times when a 1.5 hour trip time would be greatly preferable. I can’t imagine that an autonomous car on a fully allocated pre-trip basis (I’m assuming that the car is offered as a service, rather being owned directly) couldn’t be much less than the $110/way it usually costs to fly. Now, an autonomous electric bus might be able to offer a real value, but wouldn’t offer a direct trip.

      1. realistic says:

        Good rationale, transit. Perhaps the world isn’t as jded about commercial flight as I’ve become. Combined on all airlines and partners over the last 33 years I’ve logged 2.2M miles and I’m sick of it. If a trip can be done in 6 hours with reasonable consistency I’ll drive it (except when atrocious winter weather is predicted) — even 8 if I can’t get a decent seat. And that happens despite being a Million Miler on United/Continental.

        Honestly if I could snooze, read, etc. in something that comes TO MY HOUSE and takes me to the place I want to be, air travel is going to have to become much less annoying to make me a frequent regional user, especially on CRJ (all versions) without an upgrade. 42.8cm seat width?!? Please…

    3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

      Those regional flights to/from hubs can save hours and planes tend not to get stuck in traffic. Can be quite cheap and simple for people traveling light if the flight timing works. A colleague was making frequent use of a regional flight a few years ago.

      If hybrids could make those regional flights quiet and cheap(?) maybe regional flights could become _more_ popular.

      1. realistic says:

        Money, in 2009 I logged over 100k air miles without leaving CONUS. Many, many legs were Regional AC. Beech 1900 through ERJ 170/190.

        I can tell you without a doubt my experience did not reflect your optimistic view.

    4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I don’t see that happening due to autonomous cars, at all. The main reason Americans usually fly rather than drive, for trips over 400 miles one-way, is because flying gets you there faster. Other than reducing or eliminating traffic jams, autonomous driving won’t help reduce the trip time.

      Electric propulsion airplanes are limited to the speed of prop-driven planes, which fly at a maximum of about 0.7 Mach, as opposed to jet airliners, which fly at about 0.9 Mach. This significant speed disadvantage makes electric propulsion non-competitive except on short flights.

      And batteries are going to have to increase in energy density quite a bit before they will be small and light enough to be practical for powering even short commercial flights. Using batteries currently available, electric propulsion is best used to power auxiliary motors in sailplanes, and for training planes that make only short flights.

      We’ve seen articles similar to this one before, about specially built high-performance electric propulsion airplanes, but of course those are very expensive prototypes, not mass produced or commercial airplanes.

  5. SJC says:

    Glider towing is one application, just make the glider an electric motor glider then put thin film solar cells on the wings.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Sunlight does not provide sufficient power (per square foot/meter) for a typical sailplane; that’s why electric propulsion planes are battery powered.

      Specially built solar powered planes such as the Solar Impulse 2 are very fragile, can’t fly in anything worse than calm weather, have enormous wing area, and carry only the pilot, with almost no luggage/cargo capacity. And they still carry a battery pack, so they can continue to fly when not in direct sunlight.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Impulse

  6. Joe Furabam says:

    By 2040, or before, there will be little need for regional aircraft if the hyperloop project pans out. The major cities will all have hyperloop stations to carry people point to point. In the distant future aircraft will only be needed for overseas flights and they will most likely be fuel cell hybrids turning hydrogen into motive power and water.

    1. JIMJFOX says:

      Hype-erpoop! Elon thinks he can build it on Mars.
      Ridiculous idea, no wonder he wants no part in its ‘development’, leaving that to ‘others’.
      Virtual space travel- on Earth??
      Who wants to sit in a steel tube, no views, with all the disadvantages of air travel- much security, not able to access inner cities, feeling 2G forces? You’d likely need a medical certificate & those with serious conditions would be refused.
      STOOOPID!

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        More FUD from one of our resident fool cell fanboys, I see. Are you jealous of Elon Musk’s success, or what? Your objections are mostly nonsense.

        There’s no particular reason that Hyperloop would need the extraordinary security of airliners. Individual Hyperloop capsules wouldn’t carry that many passengers, and there’s no fuel onboard, so it’s not like an accident would cause one to plunge to earth is a fiery explosion killing hundreds of people. Much less of a target for terrorists.

        And accelerations greater than 2G are routinely tolerated by people amusement park rides. In fact, some steel roller coasters exceed 5 and even 6 gees; see link below.

        The proposal is for Hyperloop to be built on elevated pylons, like a highway overpass. So it would be no more difficult to put one or more Hyperloop stations in the middle of a crowded city than to put an elevated light rail system there.

        JimFox, you’re either repeatedly posting about tech subjects regarding which you are almost entirely ignorant, or this is deliberate FUD and/or trolling. Based on your science-denying angry and insulting fool cell fanboy posts in other discussions, my guess is the latter.

        http://rollercoaster.wikia.com/wiki/Highest_G-Force_on_a_Roller_Coaster

    2. JIMJFOX says:

      Regional electric short-haul 20-50 seat planes will re-invigorate air travel. Small airport within city boundaries, no noise, minimal turnaround times, cheapest ‘fuel’ ever. Sounds good to me!

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      If there is any idea even worse than trying to power passenger cars with hydrogen, it’s trying to power airplanes that way. The low energy density and high volume of H2, even when compressed, coupled with the heavy weight of the tanks, makes this a complete non-starter for airplane fuel, even aside from the difficulty of handling the fuel and the absurdly high cost.

      The only place hydrogen makes sense as a fuel is for booster rockets, where the low weight of the fuel is more important than the lack of energy density. Otherwise, fuggedaboutit.

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