Chip Yates is clearly a man who likes his high speed rides to come all-electric style. Having been focused on electric motorcycles that go really, really fast, he also has his sights on owning records for electric airplanes.
A recent flight in his all-electric Long-ESA aircraft in California netted him what he sought.
Yates, flying at Inyokern Airport, posted a speed of 202.6 MPH during a test flight for his team Flight of the Century (FOTC). The plane in question he flew in had been purchased and converted into an all-electric specifically to serve as a test bed for development of long range electric flight technology. It also, of course, was being built to be a record breaker.
Flight of the Century we’ve talked about before, noting back in June of their desire to emulate the pioneer of trans-Atlantic flight himself, Charles Lindbergh, with a 3,600-mile trip from New York to Paris. To accomplish this in 2014, which is when an aircraft for this voyage should be built, a series of flying UAV battery pods will be launched, which will dock with the aircraft and recharge it in-flight.
Back in current times, the plane Yates made use of was highly modified in just two months, then went through a rather speedy set of trials before the record was set.
The US military seems to have keen interest in the technology Yates and team are developing, as they “deployed high speed telemetry, radar and tracking cameras to capture Yates’ historic flight adjacent to their restricted airspace.”
They in particular are looking at the high speed, long/infinite range electric manned and UAV technologies, said FOTC, because it creates a quasi-stealth experience due to the plane’s composite structure and lack of measurable heat signature from the all-electric powerplant to track with.
FOTC now plans to equip its test electric aircraft with custom lithium-ion battery packs and a front-mounted recharging probe “to test mid-air tethering and battery jettison & rebalance technologies.”
They hope to achieve a top speed of up to 250 MPH later this year doing this, followed by higher altitude flights afterwards.