An electric-drive Extra 330LE aerobatics plane recently set a world record in ascent in the category of “Electric aircraft weighing up to 1,000 kilograms. The pilot reached an altitude of 3,000 meters in only four minutes and 22 seconds, beating the previous record by one minute and 10 seconds. The airplane rose into the air at 11.5 meters per second.
The plane is equipped with a SP260D electric drive system from Siemens that has a continuous power output of 260 kW, continuous torque of 1,000 N·m, weighs only 50 kg, and thus offers an excellent power-to-weight ratio. (Earlier post.) Pilot Walter Extra broke the previous record set by the American pilot William M. Yates in 2013. The World Air Sports Federation—Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI)—recognized the record-breaking flight.
This is a milestone on the path to electrification in aviation. This enormous achievement was possible only with digital technologies that enabled us to push our drive train to its technological limits.
The Extra 330LE, which weights approximately 1,000 kilograms, serves as a test vehicle for the new drive. Its first public flight was in July 2016. (Earlier post.) For Siemens AG eAircraft, this record is proof of the performance of the SP260D drive system and its efficient integration into the airplane built by Extra Aircraft OEM.
The Extra 330LE two-seater will be the test aircraft for the coming years, when the goal will be to analyze and further develop how the individual components of its propulsion system work together. Siemens will also bring the technology to its electric flight collaboration agreement with Airbus, which the two companies signed in April 2016. (Earlier post.)
They want to prove the technical feasibility of hybrid electric drive systems for regional aircraft with up to 100 passengers by 2020. This will require power ratings of up to 10 MW.
The two partners plan to develop hybrid electric regional aircraft on the basis of the record-breaking motor.
We expect to see the first aircraft with up to 100 passengers and a range of approximately 1,000 kilometers by 2030—Frank Anton