Date: May 30, 2011, No. 46

Successful first flight by e-Genius

Flight testing program for electric aircraft launched

What were dreams of the future at the Berbling Flight Competition held by the city of Ulm in April, have now been fulfilled a mere four weeks later: the „e-Genius“, the electrically powered aircraft from the Faculty of Aerospace and Geodesy at the University of Stuttgart, has successfully completed its maiden flight. The two-seater aircraft especially developed for efficient electrically power flights manufactured in a carbon fibre plastic design by a team around Prof. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, Len Schumann and Steffen Geinitz took off on Wednesday, 25th May 2011 at 5.58 pm at the factory airfield of the company GROB AIRCRAFT AG in Mindelheim. With the maiden flight the flight testing program was launched during which the flight features of the electrically power aircraft were to be tested and the electrical drive system subjected to initial tests. The calculated flight performance confirms that e-Genius is the most efficient two-seater electrically powered aircraft in the world.

„Handling the aircraft is easier than expected“, test pilot Steffen Gemsa from DLR Oberpfaffenhofen is pleased to say. In the coming days further test flights are planned in order to record the first performance data. In addition, the e-Genius must complete 40 flight hours in order to be able to participate from 7th until 10th July 2011 in the NASA/CAFE Green Flight Challenge (GFC) 2011 in California/USA. The prize endowed by NASA with 1.5 million Dollars requires evidence during a competition that the planes consume less than one litre of fuel per 100 kilometres and per passenger as energy equivalent. Moreover, a route of 200 miles (320 kilometres) must be flown during which a minimum speed of 100 miles/h (160 km/h) is reached. „The e-Genius is in a position to fulfil the performance requirements stipulated by GFC“, Prof. Voit-Nitschmann announced confidently.

The e-Genius is equipped with a 60 kilowatt electric engine, achieves a range of up to 400 kilometres and thereby uses only 4.75 kilowatt hours (corresponds to 0.6 l fuel) per 100 kilometres and per passenger. The aircraft is a further development of the aircraft Hydrogenius, with which the team around Prof. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann already won the Berbling Competition in 2006. A battery system was used to equip it. In order to demonstrate the efficiency of a modern electrically-powered aircraft without any compromises, the team trod completely new paths in order to realise e-Genius and redesigned the integration of the entire electrical drive train in particular. The drive is now in the rear, which enables efficiency to be improved by15 to 20 percent, a compact and light retractable landing gear as well as an uninterrupted view forwards. The fuselage was created in a carbon fibre sandwich design, making it extremely light. The concept of the cockpit ensures comfort and creates storage space for energy storage devices behind the pilots’ seats.

The drive system is oriented towards the requirements of electric flying and simultaneously enables an extremely environmentally compatible and safe aircraft. Through this the loss of heat can be discharged in a targeted way and be emitted more efficiently via a heat exchanger. The part of the drive system directly responsible for the propulsion is being supplemented by a propeller, which was developed purely for the Hydrogenius platform. This is designed as a variable pitch propeller due to the large speed area and positioned in the rear. This allows a larger diameter compared to conventional propellers, which reduces noise emissions due to the higher level of efficiency and a reduced number of rotations.


Further information from Prof. Rudolf Voit-Nitschmann, Institut für Flugzeugbau, Tel. 0711/685-62770, e-mail: rvn@ifb.uni-stuttgart.de
 

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First flight by e-Genius at 25th of May, 2011 (Photo: University of Stuttgart)