Given that climate-friendly battery-powered aircraft has been a working proof of concept for almost five years now, does the battery-powered Airbus E-Fan represent the future of pilot training aircraft?
By: Ringo Bones
According to the Airbus Group, the Airbus E-Fan has successfully flown as far back as March 2014 and during the July 2014 Farnborough Air Show a prototype was flight demonstrated in front of the world’s press and was pitched as a pilot training aircraft with low running cost and, perhaps, climate-friendly credentials. But the Airbus E-Fan really began to be well known to the general public back in July 9, 2015 when it took off from Lydd, England at 9:17 in the morning in order to do a first ever crossing of the English Channel, in which it eventually did, landing successfully later in Calais-Dunkerque Airport. And despite Airbus’ claims of for being the first electric aircraft to successfully cross the English Channel, it was actually the Solar Challenger that did it first back in 1981, which Airbus later said that their E-Fan is “the first all-electric-two-engine-aircraft to make the crossing.”
Ever since PC Aero aircraft designer Calin Gologan’s Elektra One made its first successful flight back in March 21, 2011, battery powered electric aircraft has been pitched as the climate-friendly alternative to the kerosene burning large passenger aircraft favored by the world’s major airline companies. Its 250-volt DC electrical system is powered by Lithium Polymer battery packs sourced from a South Korean firm Kokam and even though more efficient and faster charging batteries with lighter weight and much less volume while offering the same power storage capacity had been demonstrated successfully in various consumer electronic shows at the start of 2015, E-Fan designer Didier Esteyne is probably already designing an improved version of the E-Fan that uses Store Dot’s quick-charging Flash Batteries . But the design of Airbus’ E-Fan’s propulsion system – the two ducted variable-pitch fans spun by two 30-kilowatt 250-volt DC electric motors – is where the newfangled electric plane is light-years ahead from competing designs due to ducting principle allows it to increase its thrust while reducing noise, By the way, ducted fan aircraft designs had been around since the start of the 1960s.