Two Dead In Siemens-Powered eFusion Crash

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Two pilots were killed in a crash involving the Siemens-powered Magnus eFusion electric aircraft on Thursday morning in Hungary, local police reported. The aircraft was reportedly flown after a party to celebrate the new company headquarters. Neither pilot has been identified, but one, a 61-year-old, was believed to be part of Magnus Aircraft.

Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft maneuvering at low altitude before catching fire and crashing in a near vertical dive. The impact in a corn field approximately a mile from the Pecs-Pogany Airport (LHPP) caused a fire. "The electric aircraft took off at 10:00 a.m. (0800 GMT), went on two laps [around the pattern] and then crashed for unknown reasons," county police spokesman Dejan Popovics told the Hungarian news agency MTI.

The aircraft, produced in collaboration between Siemens and Magnus Aircraft, had completed its first flight in April of 2016. At AERO Friedrichshafen, the company had announced a base price of 200,000 Euros and offered deliveries as an experimental aircraft.

A public relations person of Siemens acknowledged the crash with the German publication Aerokurier; however, Magnus Aircraft could not be reached for comment on Friday.

Comments (12)

So sorry to hear. Maybe, Li ion batteries dont belong in airplanes?

Posted by: johnny stick | June 2, 2018 12:11 AM    Report this comment

"Witnesses reported seeing the aircraft maneuvering at low altitude before catching fire and crashing in a near vertical dive."
What hydrogen was to the Hindenburg, traditional lithium-ion batteries may be to electric airplanes...
Condolences to the families of the victims.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | June 2, 2018 10:08 AM    Report this comment

BTW, there's a worth-watching Nova video available online, called "Search for the super battery." You can find it at:
pbs.org/video/nova-search-super-battery/

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | June 2, 2018 10:18 AM    Report this comment

@YARS - because avgas is not flammable?

Posted by: Gabor Nagy | June 3, 2018 7:17 AM    Report this comment

Gabor:
There are hundreds of thousands of gasoline-powered airplanes in existence today. How many of their fuel tanks catch fire in flight each year?
On the other hand, how many laptops, cell-phones, hover-boards, etc? I'm detecting a pattern.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | June 3, 2018 7:48 AM    Report this comment

New technology has new and unknown risks.
I've always had a question on the long term reliability of high density battery systems.
As YARS said, we have plenty of every day examples of such systems failing either without warning or catastrophically. Unlike AvGas, high density battery arrays are a lot more unpredictable.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | June 3, 2018 9:16 AM    Report this comment

First I hate to see the aviation community suffer losses. Hopefully the reason "why" can be determined.
Second, YARS, you can add the first Boeing 787s to your list of battery fires.

Posted by: Robert Mahoney | June 3, 2018 9:24 AM    Report this comment

Robert:
The 787s retain a prominent position on my list. Just a matter of time, IMWO.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | June 3, 2018 10:18 AM    Report this comment

I'm sorry to see this has happened, but not totally surprised if the batteries are at fault. It is interesting that Boeing and their battery supplier spent a great deal of time and effort to identify the problems and build reliable lithium battery packs. In the end they gave up and replaced them with a more reliable, but heavier, battery system. Lithium battery technology is still in its infancy, in spite of their widespread use. Powering a laptop or tablet with a small pack is far different than the hundreds or thousands needed to power an airplane. In time we may find safer ways to use them, but it could take a while. Don't put a deposit down on that all-electric airplane just yet.

Posted by: John McNamee | June 3, 2018 5:10 PM    Report this comment

These planes have a 3 cylinder diesel engine for charging the batteries, so this vehicle falls into the class of a hybrid diesel electric. I will wait to see what the investigation finds as the source of the failure. All power sources can develop unanticipated heat and fire. Experimental aircraft are by default risky since complete engineering is not available, but being developed. Perhaps this tragedy with provide a very costly lesson as to what the technology may or may not be used for or how to control it safely. The controls may include not using the current battery design, but some battery system.

Posted by: M Flyer | June 4, 2018 10:32 AM    Report this comment

M Flyer:
Their website claims that these are all-electric vehicles - not hybrids.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | June 4, 2018 1:59 PM    Report this comment

Since we can't put URLs into our comments all I can suggest is that anyone that wants to see a little more about how the plane works do a Google search for, Siemens-powered Magnus eFusion electric aircraft. The list of results will include a link to a Siemens website, which is; Electric Flight - Siemens Global Website. Looks like a series of press releases about the plane. A few of them mention its a hybrid. One in particular says, " This hybrid Magnus eFusion is equipped with a Siemens SP55D electric motor and a FlyEco Diesel engine". There were other stories on the internet which say the system used batteries as well. It sounds like a complex design and the electric motor doesn't look like anything I have ever seen. Anyway, lets wait and see what went wrong and hope better things come from it.

Posted by: M Flyer | June 5, 2018 10:43 AM    Report this comment

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