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Airbus-sponsored electric airplane flies for the first time

May 27, 2011 | 12:10 pm


An experimental electric airplane took to the skies above Germany in a maiden flight this week, showing the potential of technology that could one day result in a greener aviation industry.

The two-seat airplane, dubbed eGenius, flew for 20 minutes powered by a unique 60kW electric engine that centers around reducing carbon emissions.

With its 55-foot wingspan and helicopter-like fuselage, the odd-looking propeller plane is designed to travel a distance of up to 248 miles at a cruise speed of about 146 mph. It was developed and built by the Institute of Aircraft Design at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, with financial backing from European aerospace giant Airbus.

The company makes passenger jets that are used by airlines around the world.

“Airbus examines the long-term potential of electricity as alternative major onboard energy source,” the company said in statement. “The data collected from the practical operation with the eGenius aircraft will be analyzed by Airbus’ Future Projects teams to further develop the technology and better understand its opportunities.”


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-- W.J. Hennigan

Photo: The eGenius takes off from an airfield in Mindelheim, Bavaria, Germany. Credit: Airbus