On 19th July 2012 at Inyoken Airport, California, test pilot Chip Yates impressed the world by flying the world’s fastest electric plane. This bird geared a top speed of 327 km/h (204 mph) breaking the barrier of 320 kmh (200 mph) for any electric vehicle ever invented. Yates managed to sustain the speed for over 15 seconds without even using the full power, owing to a broken cell inside the battery pack. This forced him to land the plane without power on a 2160 meters long track at the Californian airport.
The project concluded with the production of this small electric plane with a cockpit sized for just one man- the pilot. The design of the plane is a modified version of Burt Rutan’s Long –EZ. Flight of the Century is the company behind this cutting edge project. The alteration included the removal of the original power train and replacement of the equipment for mid-air recharging, battery pack and a powerful, liquid cooled electric engine that produces 258 hp. The new-fangled vehicle was named Long-ESA, an abbreviation for “Electric Speed and Altitude”.
The core of this innovative technology is the battery pack consisting of a number of smaller batteries instead of one big battery. Once exhausted, the old battery is removed and replaced with a new, fully charged one. The discharged battery is designed to slide to the ground for recharging by means of a pair of wings. This specific design idea is inline with Century’s announcement for developing “an electric airplane that flies forever”. It is still uncertain whether Flight of the Century will be successful, nonetheless it will be something to look forward to.