The great annual gathering of aviation enthusiasts known as Oshkosh Air Show successfully wrapped up on July 31st. I was there first half of the week to observe the latest innovation on electric flight.
Part of my assignment was to man the GE Aviation Systems booth at the Innovations Center, helping out at the popular all electric aircraft simulator. Luckily for me, I was surrounded by pioneers of electric flight. In the same hangar we have the all-electric Sonex and a PC-Aero, who plans to put solar panels on the Elektra-One electric sailplane.
I had the opportunity to talk to Jonathon Hartman, Research Engineer and project manager of the Sikorsky Firefly project – the all electric helicopter powered by batteries. Jonathon providing updates on the project:
During Oshkosh, many enthusiasts expressed their excitement on the prospect of flying an all-electric airplane. We agreed that there are still a few challenges ahead. The first one is energy storage – flying for only ten minutes doesn’t make the aircraft practical. The other is certification of electric aircraft. For an electric aircraft to become main stream, it has to move beyond the experimental category. Check out this story (link) from Flight Global on the topic.
For pictures from the show, click here.