EADS-Backed E-Fan Ducted Fan Electric Trainer

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In 2011, Didier Esteyne and EADS debuted a tiny, single-seat, aerobatic electric-powered Cri-Cri at the Paris Air Show and this year returned with the E-Fan, a twin ducted-fan, electric-powered, aerobatic, tandem-seat trainer project. The project is co-funded by the French civil aviation authority and other government entities. Aside from shrouded propellers the design incorporates a wheel motor to more efficiently drive the aircraft over taxiways and early in the takeoff roll. E-Fan employs multi-cell lithium ion battery packs housed in the wing roots that, Esteyne estimates the power pack is easily capable of driving 20 kilowatt motors for one hour's flying at 110 mph cruise. The plane is still in development and has not yet flown, but the developers have big plans.

In its current configuration, the aircraft has a 31-foot wingspan and would have a maximum weight of 1,212 pounds, fitting inside LSA weight parameters. The project has seen the aircraft through taxi tests and is expected to take flight for the first time this fall. The airplane's developers say they ultimately hope to see the E-Fan certified for production as a trainer and general aviation aircraft. Regulations for electric aircraft would have to be set in place, first.