EXTRA 330LE – An Electric Aerobatic Aircraft
Copyright : Jean-Marie Urlacher
Towing rope released: The nearly silent aerotow piloted by Walter Extra took a type LS8-neo glider up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.
At Paris-Le Bourget Air Show, Siemens and Extra presented for the first time in public their prototype of an electric aerobatic plane, the Extra 330LE, towing a glider. Flown by Walter Extra himself daily during the Air Show, the Extra 330LE is powered by a 260 kW (350 HP) world-record electric motor developed by Siemens, delivering five times more than comparable drive systems, and weighing just 50 kg.
The Extra 330LE first flew at Schwarze Heide Airport in Germany on 4 July 2016 . Built in carbon, the Extra 330LE was designed on the basis of the two-seater Extra 300L normally powered by a Lycoming 300 HP 6 cyl-engine and has a maximum weight of 1,000 kg. It can fly for more than twenty minutes per charge almost in silence with near to zero carbon-emission.
On November 25, 2016, the Extra 330LE had set a new world record recognized by FAI for time to climb by reaching 3,000 meters in just four minutes and 22 seconds – a climb velocity of 11.5 meters per second, 1 minute 10 seconds faster than the previous world record set by U.S. pilot William M. Yates in 2013 in the category “Electric-powered planes less than 1,000 kilograms.”
On March 23, 2017, the Extra 330LE had set two new speed records when reaching a top speed of around 337.50 kilometers per hour (km/h) over a distance of three kilometers (13.48 km/h faster than the previous record, also held by U.S. pilot William M. Yates since 2013), and later 342.86 km/h in a slightly modified configuration with an overall weight just above 1,000 kg. The follwoing day, on March 24, the aircraft had given another premiere performance by becoming the world’s first electric aircraft to tow a glider into the sky up to a height of 600 meters in only 76 seconds.
All these records are giving more emphasis on the collaboration agreement Siemens and Airbus have signed in the field of hybrid electric propulsion since April 2016, aiming at demonstrating the technical feasibility of various hybrid/electric propulsion systems by 2020.