Electric Extra Sets Climb Record
Famed aerobatic pilot and aircraft designer Walter Extra has set a new FAI record for time to climb in an electric airplane. According to Extra and Siemens, the manufacturer of the motor used in the Extra 330LE, the climb was 4:22 to an altitude of 3000 meters (9842 feet). That's an average climb rate of about 2300 feet per minute. The record is a new C1b class for light landplanes but it doesn't exceed time to climb performance for piston airplanes in other classes. The record applies to powered electric aircraft with a takeoff weight of 500 to 1000 kg.
The Extra 330LE first appeared last spring at the Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany. As part of its regular show coverage of Aero, AVweb prepared this video report. The 330LE was developed by a consortium of companies including Extra, Siemens, MT Propeller and Pipistrel. The motor is a 350-HP brushless DC design that weights only 110 pounds. You can learn about the details in this AVweb video.
The flight took place on Nov. 25 at Dinslaken, Germany. Siemen's Frank Anton, head of eAircraft at the company, said, “This is the first time that an electric aircraft in the quarter-megawatt performance class has flown.” He said the new system means that hybrid-electric aircraft with four or more seats will now be possible. However, battery development still lags and this is seen as an essential requirement for practical aircraft, including hybrids.