At PrivateFly, we’re passionate about the future of aviation – whether it’s new devices, aircraft, or flying cars – which is why we are closely following the development of the E-Fan, the first aircraft powered by electricity.
A two-seat experimental aircraft, developed by Airbus Group and partners, the E-Fan is the first 100% electrical aircraft. With its first flight last April, in a few weeks time it will be revealed which facility the aircraft will be produced at.
As we prepare for more news on the E-Fan, lets take a look at how this aircraft can change the future of aviation:
Economic Trainer Aircraft
According to Didier Esteyne, the test pilot of the E-Fan, this aircraft will be used to train future pilots at flight schools.
“I designed this plane as a training aircraft.” Esteyne says, also recommending that the E-Fan be used in the first 20 hours of flying for apprentices. This would enable students to be more economical and environmentally friendly when practicing flying at the beginning of their training.
It would also allow student to learn how to use less energy in a flight, even on a regular aircraft. “There is no difference in terms of driving,” states Esteyne, “except that you must manage the maneuvers in order to consumer the least amount of energy.”
A Light Aircraft With Promising Performance
The E-Fan is a two-seat aircraft, measuring 22 feet long with a 31 foot wingspan. The training aircraft is made out of carbon fiber and is powered by a 120 cells lithium polymer battery system.
While the E-Fan is an obvious progression towards greener and cheaper aircraft (it doesn’t emit any CO2 and it could reduce the costs of flying by about 30% per hour of flight) the biggest challenge remains on how to make electric batteries more efficient and more productive.
Currently the aircraft has a cruising speed of 99mph, with a range of only 45 minutes.
The Future Of Electric Airplanes
For now, the E-Fan is not being marketed and is too small to become a light jet.
However, Didier Esteyne has new projects. He’s currently working on the design of the E-Fan 2.0, which will also be a two-seat aircraft, but the seats will be placed side by side for more comfort. Additionally, this future edition provides a range of one hour.
The pilot also plans to extend the range into the future with an electric four-seater aircraft that can move for three hours. This hybrid or electric aircraft could be marketed as a private jet, having a major impact on the industry by reducing the footprint of private aviation and also significantly reducing costs.
While the use of electric aircraft in the charter market is still far away, we’re excited what these developments could bring to the aviation industry, and we will continue to watch as the E-Fan develops further.
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