Resurrecting the Flying Electron
Thirty years ago, Claude Chudzik of France developed the CC01, a single-pilot plane. The CC01 is a "canard" style aircraft due to its unique design and propeller in back.
Chudzik successfully flew the CC01, which was powered at the time by a 25-horsepower, two-stroke internal combustion engine. Pilot and attendees at the flight described the engine as "almost unbearably" noisy as it achieved speeds at almost 125 mph.
Chudzik pulled out the CC01 out of storage last year. Teaming up with friend Frederic Laude, who also designed planes, and others, they replaced the original engine with an electric motor system by Electravia. The new powerplant could generate up to 50 horsepower, which is double the original, and included a 4.7 kWh lithium polymer battery. The team also revamped the CC01′s propeller and tore out unnecessary equipment from the plane like the original engine’s exhaust system.
The newly deemed CC01e F-PYXQ “Flying Electron” took to the skies for the first time in March, 2013 from Nangis airport, France. Laude was the pilot. He flew the plane for three minutes, finding himself “half-relaxed, half-stressed” during the time. The Flying Electron was flown again the next day, this time for 15 minutes. It was clocked at nearly 138 mph and had around 60-percent battery left.
Chudzik, Laude, and crew had been hoping achieve 186 mph with the CC01e, which would be a speed record for such a plane. In 2011, German company PC-Aero flew its single-pilot electric plane at speeds up to 100 mph for nearly 30 minutes.
Other notable electric planes include the N270DC, which had its first test flight even earlier in late 2010, and the Rapid 200-FC, which stayed in the air for 45 minutes thanks to its fuel-cells. The most ambitious electric plane we’ve posted about so far is the EQP2 Excursion. Still on the drawing board, this two-seater is suppose to achieve speeds over 250 mph.