Aero 2018 Opens: Electric Airplanes Dominate

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As Aero 2018 in Friedrichshafen, Germany is set to open this week with more than 630 exhibitors from 38 countries, electric aircraft and drone technology are expected to dominate the show. The expo will also be well populated with gyrocopters, new light sport aircraft and efficient engine technology.

With roots in Hungary, the Magnus Aircraft eFusion will likely be one of the most unique aircraft on display. Powered by a Siemens-eAircraft electric motor and using proprietary batteries, it will carry two occupants and cruise at almost 140 knots. But it’s also the first production or near-production hybrid power system aircraft to appear on the market. In addition to the battery pack, the eFusion has a small diesel engine called the Smart EcoFly to provide energy beyond the battery limits. We’ll have more on that later.

Another electric aircraft on display is the Antares 20E produced by Lange Aviation in Germany. The aircraft is a high-performance motorglider with a 65-foot wingspan. The electric motor is stowed in the fuselage and has a pop-up mechanism for use when thermals aren’t to be found and thrust is required. The concept is similar to Pipistrel’s Taurus electric motorglider.

Not ready for flight yet but on display will be another innovation from Lange Research, the E2, an eye-catching design with no less than six electric motors each driving its own prop. Powered by a fuel cell, the aircraft can be flown manned or unmanned for scientific and surveillance work. It’s said to have an endurance of 40 hours and first flights are planned this summer.

Watch AVweb this week for full coverage of Aero 2018.