South America's First Electric Airplane Takes Flight

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An electric airplane produced in South America took its first test flight this week at Itaipu, Brazil. Reuters’ report on the milestone describes the Sora-E as a two-seat airplane powered by six ion polymer lithium batteries. The airframe was built from carbon fiber and the electric engine, which came from Slovenia, will provide a cruise speed of 100 knots for one hour, according to The Economic Times, which published multiple photos of the airplane. In one, an apparent mishap on landing resulted in a collapsed nosewheel.

The Sora-E is a joint venture between ACS Aviation of Brazil and Itaipu Binacional of Paraguay to promote green technology. Jorge Samek of Itaipu told Reuters the project demonstrates the potential for replacing fossil fuels in transportation. “We started with cars, with utility vehicles, with trucks and now we’re working with planes and buses,” he said. It's not clear whether the Sora-E is meant for GA certification, but it's similar in appearance to low-wing, light-sport aircraft models.