Battery-Powered Ultralight Attracts Attention At Sun 'n Fun

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New airplanes were scarce at last week's Sun 'n Fun show in Lakeland, Fla., but a new electric ultralight motorglider held center stage at the new LSA Mall, attracting a constant stream of curious visitors all week long. The ElectraFlyer ULS was first seen last summer at EAA AirVenture, just a few days after its first flight. At Sun 'n Fun, its creator, Randall Fishman of the Electric Aircraft Corp., said he has accumulated about 30 hours of flight time in the airplane and he's ready to offer copies for sale at $59,000. Fishman said the lightweight carbon-fiber aircraft cruises at about 40 mph, flies for up to two hours on a single charge, and can stay aloft longer for those who like to soar and choose a folding prop. "People are very interested in electric flight," Fishman told AVweb. It's nice to fly with less pollution, he said, but people also like that "it's just really nice to fly quietly and without vibration."

Fishman, along with a roster of other innovators in the electric-aircraft community, will be speaking at the CAFE Electric Aircraft Symposium (PDF) coming up April 26 and 27 in Santa Rosa, Calif. The annual event convenes authorities in technologies such as energy, aeronautics, propulsion and safety to share ideas about the future of electric-powered flight. Speakers will include Bertrand Piccard of SolarImpulse, Tine Tomazic of Pipistrel, Greg Cole of Windward Performance, Dennis Bushnell of NASA, Adam Bry from MIT, and many others. AVweb's Mary Grady will be there to report on the event; visit AVweb.com for news reports, podcasts, photos, and video.