APAME Announces Electric Flight

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The first flight of the appropriately named Electra electric-powered open-cockpit aircraft took place Sunday, Dec. 23 at 11:50 a.m. local time at the Aspres sur Buech airfield, Hautes Alpes. The braced-shoulder-wing taildragger flew a closed circuit for 48 minutes powered by lithium polymer batteries, traveling the equivalent of a little more than 31 miles. (A quick look at the aircraft suggests the airframe itself was chosen more for expedience than for its high-performance characteristics). Piloted by test engineer Christian Vandamme, the flight was achieved in cooperation with APAME, the French association for the promotion of electrically motorized aircraft that created it. According to APAME's Web site, "This flight uses the electrical engine for light aircraft respecting the environmental context and the control of energy costs." It also builds on the success of the Electron Libre ultralight trike (powered hang-glider), which flew for 22 minutes in calm air on Aug. 25 from Aspres sur Buech airfield.