EADS Unveils Electric, Aerobatic, Four-Engine Airplane

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It's only big enough for the pilot, and barely that, but EADS proudly showed off its new version of the Cri-Cri, a French homebuilt design from the 1970s, at the Green Aviation Show at Le Bourget Airport in Paris last week. The airplane is built from composites to reduce weight, and uses high energy-density lithium batteries to power four electric motors. The company said the electric Cri-Cri will fly for 30 minutes at about 60 knots, and first test flights will begin soon. The Paris show also hosted plenty of low-energy airships, gliders, and trikes. Also last week, the FAA said it will give $125 million to five aerospace companies to help them develop new eco-friendly technologies that will reduce jet fuel consumption, emissions and noise.

Those companies -- Boeing, GE, Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, and Rolls Royce -- will use the funds for research into sustainable alternative aviation fuels, lighter and more efficient engines, and advanced wing surfaces. They will also look at open rotor and geared turbofan engines, the FAA said. The FAA's goal is to reduce aviation fuel consumption 33 percent by 2015.