World record at the Green Speed Cup 2013 - Longest flight by an electric aircraft
The e-Genius electric aircraft flew into the record books on the first of the Green Speed Cup’s two assessment days by masterfully negotiating the set task of flying a triangular route of some 405 km (252 miles). Never before has a completely electric aircraft flown further. This represents a milestone in the electromobility field. Whereas electrical aircraft have until now been viewed with a degree of skepticism as special technical constructions, this flight has made it clear that they are currently emerging from their niche into the world of mainstream touring aircraft capable of everyday use.
And the flight took place under anything but laboratory conditions. In a grueling comparison with conventionally-powered touring planes in the sub-2 t class, primarily concerned with the optimal travel efficiency of the individual types, the e-Genius, with Klaus Ohlmann in the cockpit, could proudly hold its own in every discipline. The aircraft impressed not only with its fuel economy and well-engineered detailed solutions, but also with its remarkably high average speed of 170 km/h (105 mph). All flights took place under typical central European weather conditions with moderate winds and an active atmosphere.
The e-Genius managed at the end of the day to establish itself by some margin at the head of the pack. It came in way ahead of the overall runner-up, with 456 points, and the third-placed competitor, with 394, garnering a total of 2000 points. Second place went to the small and inconspicuous SD-1, with Tim-Peter Voss on board. Defending champion Markus Scherdel, who participated in an S10VT, a motorized glider with a retractable propeller, came in third. Both aircraft are conventionally equipped with piston engines. As the most efficient conventionally-powered aircraft, they served for the first time in this way to highlight the dramatic superiority in aviation of electric propulsion in comparison to internal combustion engines.
Whereas electric aircraft and aircraft with conventional propulsion are usually considered as separate classes, for the Green Speed Cup all technologies that can be used in air travel are compared. However, at issue here is not only the type of propulsion used, but also the overall concept of the aircraft. For instance, in addition to the aerodynamic glide ratio, it’s also important to see how well a plane is able capitalize on updrafts and downdrafts and thus to save energy. Furthermore, travel-efficient aircraft must also demonstrate good climb rates to quickly reach more favorable air currents that may be found at a higher altitude.
The competition is held annually in Strausberg, which is close to Berlin. In order to avoid the danger of fixating on and exaggerating the importance of one single design feature or special flight property, the aircraft are compared over the course of several days under varying weather conditions. The participants are required to complete a set task in the form of a circular course on each of the assessment days. The routes are between 150km (93 miles) and 500km (311 miles) long. The winner is the aircraft that successfully negotiates the course in the shortest time with the lowest energy consumption. It isn’t just energy use per kilometer of the course which is assessed, but also - explicitly - the speed required to attain it. This is supposed to be the explicit focus when the plane is in flight. The aim of the competition is ultimately to achieve an objective assessment of various aircraft under real-life conditions. Once an aircraft has taken part in at least three competitions, it is included in the overall ranking list of evaluated aircraft types. To date, no other institution has been able to reliably and accurately assess motorized aircraft from the point of view of travel efficiency.
Philipp Heinemann; Robert Adam; Phillip Scheffel
Date: 09/06/13 – 09/09/13
Participants:11 teams (aircraft)
Flights in 2013: 25
Average speed on all flights in 2013: 163 km/h (101 mph)
Average fuel consumption of all flights in 2013: 7.3 l/100 km
Next competition:Scheduled for June 2014
Notable participants: Klaus Ohlmann, world record glider pilot, holder of current distance gliding record (over 3000 km, 1864 miles), veteran of several Andean expeditions, Mountain Wave Project, lee wave researcher, Himalayan expedition this coming October
Markus Scherdel, test pilot for Solar Impulse, German distance gliding champion 2002
Competitions staged in total: 3
Partners:Technical University of Dresden; University of Berlin; Cafe Foundation
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