Aircraft

The Green Cri aerobatic electric airplane

The Green Cri aerobatic electr...
The Green Cri was created as a scientific research aircraft
The Green Cri was created as a scientific research aircraft
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The experimental aerobatic electric aircraft hasn't yet spent any time in the air but the numerous visitors didn't seem to mind
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The experimental aerobatic electric aircraft hasn't yet spent any time in the air but the numerous visitors didn't seem to mind
The instrumentation available to the pilot
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The instrumentation available to the pilot
Over the top, showing the pilot compartment and the four electric engines each driving its own prop
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Over the top, showing the pilot compartment and the four electric engines each driving its own prop
The Green Cri test prototype sports four high voltage, low intensity brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers
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The Green Cri test prototype sports four high voltage, low intensity brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers
The Green Cri surrounded by drooling visitors and journalists at this year's Green Air Show in Paris
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The Green Cri surrounded by drooling visitors and journalists at this year's Green Air Show in Paris
Plan drawings of the MC-15 Cri Cri drawn by Michel Colomban in 1981
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Plan drawings of the MC-15 Cri Cri drawn by Michel Colomban in 1981
Unfortunately, as it was built to experiment in green energy propulsion technologies, the Green Cri is unlikely to see commercial development
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Unfortunately, as it was built to experiment in green energy propulsion technologies, the Green Cri is unlikely to see commercial development
A 1973 MC-10 Cri Cri designed by Michel Colomban on show at the Green Air Show in Paris
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A 1973 MC-10 Cri Cri designed by Michel Colomban on show at the Green Air Show in Paris
A rare moment alone with the Green Cri aerobatic electric airplane
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A rare moment alone with the Green Cri aerobatic electric airplane
The Green Cri was created as a scientific research aircraft
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The Green Cri was created as a scientific research aircraft
The Green Cri at Le Bourget in Paris
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The Green Cri at Le Bourget in Paris
A 1973 MC-10 Cri Cri designed by Michel Colomban on show at the Green Air Show in Paris
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A 1973 MC-10 Cri Cri designed by Michel Colomban on show at the Green Air Show in Paris
Graph showing a comparison of CO2 emissions from both thermal and electric flight (electrical power data based on French power generation information) - electric flight has a greater initial impact due to high emissions of battery production, but after about 5 hours of flight becomes the cleaner method of propulsion
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Graph showing a comparison of CO2 emissions from both thermal and electric flight (electrical power data based on French power generation information) - electric flight has a greater initial impact due to high emissions of battery production, but after about 5 hours of flight becomes the cleaner method of propulsion
When the maiden flight does happen it is expected that the aircraft will achieve 30 minutes of cruise flight at 110kph or 15 minutes of aerobatics at up to 250kph on a single hour-long charge of the batteries
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When the maiden flight does happen it is expected that the aircraft will achieve 30 minutes of cruise flight at 110kph or 15 minutes of aerobatics at up to 250kph on a single hour-long charge of the batteries
View gallery - 14 images

If stardom is measured by camera time and the number of drooling onlookers, then the Green Cri was undoubtedly the star of the recent Paris Green Air Show. The experimental aerobatic electric aircraft hasn't yet spent any time in the air, but that didn't seem to matter. Its four engines, gorgeous smooth lines and intriguing bubble pilot enclosure ensured that it remained constantly within the camera frames of visitors and journalists alike.

The Green Cri was created as a scientific research aircraft by EADS Innovation Works and Aero Composites Saintonge. As its name suggests it was based on the limited, yet popular, short range Cri Cri ultralights first built in the 1970s (pictured below). In fact, its dimensions are the same as the MC-15, having a wingspan of just over 16 feet and being some 12 feet 10 inches long and 4 feet in height.

A 1973 MC-10 Cri Cri designed by Michel Colomban on show at the Green Air Show in Paris
A 1973 MC-10 Cri Cri designed by Michel Colomban on show at the Green Air Show in Paris

Instead of the fuel engines sitting in front of each wing, the Green Cri test prototype sports four high voltage, low intensity brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers. To keep the aircraft's weight down, it's been made from lightweight carbon composite structures. This helps to balance out the 26.8kg four pack of Lithium Polymer batteries, each providing 100V (5Ah). Once it does get to actually take off, its overall weight (including the pilot) will be just 175.5kg.

Unfortunately, as it was built to experiment in green energy propulsion technologies, the Green Cri is unlikely to see commercial development
Unfortunately, as it was built to experiment in green energy propulsion technologies, the Green Cri is unlikely to see commercial development

Modification to the design and integration of the electric engines has resulted in a 20 to 30 per cent aerodynamic efficiency gain. This is expected to help the aircraft achieve 30 minutes of cruise flight at 110kph, or 15 minutes of aerobatics at up to 250kph on a single hour-long charge of the batteries. EADS Innovation Works also expects a climb rate of approximately 5.3 meters per second when it gets to make its maiden flight in the near future.

The Green Cri at Le Bourget in Paris
The Green Cri at Le Bourget in Paris

The Green Cri is not the first electric aircraft to be based on the Cri Cri. A two-engined earlier version built by Jean-Luc Soullier and carrying 45kg battery weight made a brief test flight in 2009, but sadly suffered from electrical component overheating and returned to the ground somewhat unceremoniously after about seven minutes.

Over the top, showing the pilot compartment and the four electric engines each driving its own prop
Over the top, showing the pilot compartment and the four electric engines each driving its own prop

Unfortunately, as it was built as an experiment in green energy propulsion technologies, the Green Cri is unlikely to see commercial development. It should, however, provide useful data for the creation and adoption of zero emission propulsion technologies in future aircraft.

View gallery - 14 images
3 comments
Primož Blazinšek
In to celo leti!
Lawrence Weisdorn
Put in a small hydrogen fuel cell and extend the range dramatically.
Tom Lee Mullins
I think a small hydrogen fuel cell would give it more range and be lighter than batteries. I think it would not take long to refuel it (when compared to the batteries being recharged).