17 October 2009

The first electric-powered two seat airplane to fly at AirVenture 2009 at Oshkosh, the Yuneec E430 is an LSA (light sport aircraft) class aircraft that is the first commercially produced electric-powered aircraft. Manufactured by a Chinese company, Yuneec International, headed by Asian entrepreneur Tian Yu, the company already has the first phase of its factory outside of Shanghai operating with 250 workers. The proof-of-concept aircraft first flew just before Oshkosh and by the time of the show had accumulated 40 hours of flight time as part of its FAA certification.

With long span wings and a glide ratio of 25:1, the E430 is more like a motor glider with an empty weight of only 550 lbs and a maximum weight of 1050 lbs. It has a 40 kilowatt electric motor (equivalent to 50 horsepower) spinning a three-bladed prop. Three rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs provide 1.5 to 2 hours of flying time and there is an option for a five battery pack with just over 2.5 hours of flying time.

The E430 is already available for order with a quoted cost of $89,000 ready to fly with a complete electric power package.

Source: Flying, November 2009. "Electrics Emerge" by Robert Goyer, p62-64.

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