Electraflyer Flies Trike, Motorglider On Battery Power

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For the sport flyer who enjoys local fun flights and $100 hamburgers, Electraflyer's new battery-powered airplane may be just right -- and with no fuel to burn, it can cut the cost of that hamburger down to about 60 cents. That's how much it costs to fully charge the lithium-polymer battery pack, says Randall Fishman, president of the Electraflyer Corp. The electric engine is mounted on an old Monnet motorglider that Fishman built from a kit, and the aircraft just this week earned its experimental airworthiness certificate. Fishman also is flying a battery-powered trike, which has about 55 hours on it. The battery pack has an endurance of about an hour and a half on the trike, and Fishman said he is still tweaking it on the airplane, but expects it will last about the same or a little longer. The charging unit weighs about five pounds, he said, so it's easy to take it with you and recharge anywhere. "It's so quiet when you're flying, you can hear the wind going by, and there's no vibration," he told AVweb at Sun 'n Fun on Saturday. He's selling copies of the trike, and engine kits for homebuilders, from his Web site; a complete trike system runs about $17,000.

Fishman also said he is working on a two-seat model that would carry a larger electric motor.