Aircraft

Flight of the electric Demoichelle

Flight of the electric Demoich...
The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle
The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle
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Minor tweaking and testing ahead of some time in the air
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Minor tweaking and testing ahead of some time in the air
Flying over Le Bourget airfield as part of the zero emission air show
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Flying over Le Bourget airfield as part of the zero emission air show
Showing off to the cameras after a brief circuit of the airfield
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Showing off to the cameras after a brief circuit of the airfield
Almost ready to go
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Almost ready to go
Under construction: the electric Demoichelle monoplane sitting underneath Concorde at the Green Air Show in Paris
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Under construction: the electric Demoichelle monoplane sitting underneath Concorde at the Green Air Show in Paris
Coming in for the final approach
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Coming in for the final approach
Waiting for a pilot, the electric Demoichelle at Le Bourget airfield
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Waiting for a pilot, the electric Demoichelle at Le Bourget airfield
Safe landing, the electric Demoichelle at Le Bourget airfield
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Safe landing, the electric Demoichelle at Le Bourget airfield
Controls to the front of the electric Demoichelle
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Controls to the front of the electric Demoichelle
The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle
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The Magnificent APEV electric Demoichelle
Some final adjustements before taking to the air at Le Bourget airfield in Paris during the Green Air Show
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Some final adjustements before taking to the air at Le Bourget airfield in Paris during the Green Air Show
Construction plans for the Demoichelle monoplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris
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Construction plans for the Demoichelle monoplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris
Construction plans for the Demoichelle monoplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris
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Construction plans for the Demoichelle monoplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris
View gallery - 13 images

Despite the 10-15 knot winds cutting across the airfield at Le Bourget in Paris for the Green Air Show, visitors were treated to the wonderful sight of the electric Demoichelle in the air. The treasured creation of the Association for Promotion of Flying Ladders (APEV) the electric monoplane looks as though it was designed by the ghost of Alberto Santos-Dumont himself.

APEV's Charles Donnefort told Gizmag that the electric aircraft on display underneath Concorde (when it wasn't on the airfield) at the Le Salon de l'Aviation Verte in Paris is in fact the same prototype used for the test flights of the group's original combustion-powered Demoichelle in 2009, with a few modifications. The ROTAX engine has been swapped for a reinforced AGNI 112 R electric motor and some Lithium Polymer KOKAM 74V batteries, plus there's a minor size alteration too.

Construction plans for the Demoichelle monoplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris
Construction plans for the Demoichelle monoplane on display at the Green Air Show in Paris

The single spar, 50x100mm aluminum extrusion, wooden reinforced Styrodur rib, composite leading and trailing edge, and DIATEX 1000 covering which makes up the wings has received an extra half a meter on each side to give a little more wing surface, taking the wingspan to over 9 meters (29.5 feet). The actual weight of the e-Demoichelle is almost exactly the same as the thermal version, with the electric motor and the batteries making up for the heavy ROTAX engine.

In common with its predecessor, it stands around 2 meters (6.8 feet) tall and is just over 5 meters (17.3 feet) in length with the pilot sitting below the wing. The stall speed is marginally different, the electric version now between 35 and 40 kph (21.7/24.8 mph) but the maximum speed is still 120 km/h (74.5 mph) although the pilot usually takes things a little easier, with an average cruising speed of around 70kph (43.3 mph).

Showing off to the cameras after a brief circuit of the airfield
Showing off to the cameras after a brief circuit of the airfield

In the coming months APEV will be busying themselves creating a two-seater biplane (the Hydrochel) and a modern replica of the Piper Cub (the Cubchel). The electric Demoichelle's next public appearance will be in September at the Salon ULM Blois.

View gallery - 13 images
9 comments
Craig Jennings
I wonder what sort of noise it would make? I bet it\'s a pleasant piece of kit to fly. I do believe I LOVE this
Lawrence Weisdorn
It is innovators such as these that will eventually get us away from fossil fuels. We need to support their efforts.
Terotech
A really interesting item, and better still....two positive comments for a change!
Ed
So, how did this guy charge is batteries? I\'ll bet it was not a very green charging solution. Unless he has a huge bank of solar panels at his disposal (at an equally huge price to entry cost) or a hillside strewn with wind generators, or his grid is powered by one of the increasingly fewer nuclear powerplants, it all comes back to fossil fuels. There just isn\'t the joule per pound capacity in any other power type...period!
Mark in MI
So... nobody should ever make anything using new technology because it may not be perfect out of the box? We\'d still be in the stone age if we didn\'t try new things. That\'s truly ridiculous. The cost and therefore energy input to fully charge an electric car is $3 to $5 while it costs that much for only two gallons of gas, so yes, this still saves pollution! This is a step toward using renewable energy resources for even air transport when solar, wind, and wave energy generation is increasing year over year so that in the near future yes, this will be powered by renewable resources and not by polluting fossil fuels. When that is the case there will be electric planes already developed. Seriously... stone age thinking
Facebook User
Very nice for several reasons. Does anyone know what the range or duration of the batteries is?
Facebook User
Unfortunately this all comes back to the fact that there are almost 7 billion people on this planet and not enough resources to go around.
christopher
He charged his batteries where the airshow takes place, of course, which is Paris, which is nuclear powered - so he created about one squillionths of a microgram of pollution in so doing. Ironic that Ed even made that comment about \"green charging\" - given the tiny number of electric flights undertaken worldwide so far, there\'s a very real chance that this flight was in actual fact the *most* green powered-flight ever flown in history.
Edgar Walkowsky
That plane reminds me of the one Louis Bleriot used to cross the English channel. Nice to see electricity being used to power planes.