Electric airplane completes first test flight

After four years of development in engineering, building and testing, the Sonex LLC E-Flight N270DC electric airplane has taken to the skies, successfully completing its first test flight.

This short  flight took place on December 3, 2010 at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, with Sonex Founder and E-Flight team leader John Monnett at the helm.

While not much more than a “hop,” according to a recent release, the flight served its intended purpose as a conservative non-pattern flight to break ground-effect and analyze in-flight system performance, leading into the next round of testing.

The N270DC is a standard Waiex kit aircraft modified with an E-Flight 54kw brushless DC electric motor, E-Flight electronic motor controller, a 14.5kw-hr lithium polymer battery system, the E-Flight battery management system, and E-Flight cockpit instrumentation and controls.

Data from the flight will be analyzed by the E-Flight design team and compared to high power ground run data to determine any necessary firmware adjustments before proceeding to full traffic pattern and extended-duration test flights – which, if successful, will presumably lead to the mass-production of an all-electric, assemble-it-yourself sport plane.

Susan DeFreitas, EarthTechling