Air Race E unveils electric race plane at Dubai Airshow
As we discovered when we visited the Reno Air Race in 2016, watching flyers go head-to-head, wing-to-wing around a fixed course is absolutely exhilarating. Airbus-backed Air Race E notes that the future of aviation is electric, and plans to stage the first all-electric air race in late 2020. Its first airplane was revealed on day one of the Dubai Airshow.
"This is a pivotal moment not only for Air Race E, but for the aviation industry as a whole," said international air racing promoter, and Air Race E CEO, Jeff Zaltman. "Our aim by establishing an electric racing series is to develop a unifying platform for the development of cleaner, faster and more technologically advanced electric aircraft. The racing series will provide a testbed for innovation and accelerate the journey towards electric commercial travel. We’ve now shown it is possible and are on track to again create history when planes like the one on display at the Dubai Airshow take to the skies for the race next year."
The covers were taken off the all-electric race plane at the stand of the racing series' official founding partner, Airbus, yesterday. It was built by Yorkshire-based Condor Aviation using a modified Cassutt single-seat racer, an aircraft that has formula air racing form dating back to 1979 and was a circuit regular during the 80s and 90s.
Named White Lightning, the heavily-modified flyer features a Contra Electric twin motor and contra-rotating props. Maximum continuous power will be restricted to 150 kW in accordance with formula rules, but the e-plane is expected to reach speeds of around 300 mph (over 480 km/h). Around 20 kWh of lithium batteries weighing 100 kg (220 lb) are installed under the fuselage, for 5 minutes of fast and furious fun per charge or 10 minutes of reduced power flying. The aircraft tips the scales at 375 kg (just over 820 lb), has a wingspan of 4.6 m (15 ft), and measures 4 m (13 ft) long.
A second electric air racer is currently nearing completion at the University of Nottingham's Aerospace Technology Centre, though no details on this aircraft have been released as yet.
Next year, Air Race E will announce the first eight teams for the inaugural electric air race, set to take place on November 19, 2020, at a location yet to be revealed. It is known that the e-planes will race against each other on a tight 5-km (3.1-mi) circuit, flying around 10 m (33 ft) above the ground.
Source: Air Race E