The successful first public flight of the electric E-Fan experimental aircraft was the highlight of Airbus Group’s E-Aircraft Day in Bordeaux, France, on Friday.
The electric E-Fan training aircraft is a highly innovative technology experimental demonstrator based on an all-composite construction. Airbus Group and its partners are aiming to perform research and development to construct a series version of the E-Fan and propose an industrial plan for a production facility close to Bordeaux Airport. Airbus Group’s research efforts support the environmental protection goals of the European Commission, as outlined in its “Flightpath 2050” program.
E-Fan propulsion is provided by two electric motors with a combined power of 60 kilowatts, each driving a ducted, variable pitch fan. The duct increases the static thrust, it reduces the perceived noise and improves safety on the ground. The E-Fan’s motors are powered by a series of 250-volt lithium-ion polymer batteries. They are housed within the inboard part of the wings outside the cockpit, and provided with venting and passive cooling. Because of timing and availability constraints, off-the-shelf batteries are used in the technology demonstrator, giving an endurance of between 45 min. and an hour.
“The E-Fan project and Airbus Group’s commitment to the field of electric and hybrid research show our vision of future technological developments. It will not only lead to a further reduction in aircraft emissions and noise to support our environmental goals but will also lead to more economic and efficient aircraft technology in the long run. Our focus is to develop innovations that will help define what tomorrow’s aerospace industry will look like,” said Airbus Group Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti.
From an Airbus news release; photo by Airbus