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All-electric aircraft Cri-Cri completes maiden flight

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Cri-Cri, the first-ever four-engined, all-electric aerobatic aircraft, is derived from a twin piston-engined aircraft designed in France in the 1970s. Photo: EADS

PARIS (BNS): The first-ever four-engined all-electric aerobatic plane, Cri-Cri has made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris.

The plane is jointly developed by EADS, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association.

The plane flew for seven minutes without a hiccup.

“This aircraft flies very smoothly, much more quietly than a plane with conventional propulsion. But we are still at the beginning and have a lot to learn. We are allowed to start aerobatic manoeuvres only after five hours of flight and 15 landings," Didier Esteyne, who piloted the all-electric Cri-Cri, said.

"Take-off and climb were smooth, no vibrations could be felt, manoeuvrability was excellent and all systems performed well," says EADS.

In the near future, the companies plan to use batteries to propel larger aircraft.

The aerobatic plane incorporates numerous innovative technologies such as lightweight composite structures that reduce the weight of the airframe and compensate for the additional weight of the batteries, four brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers which deliver propulsion without CO2 emissions and significantly lower noise compared to thermal propulsion and high energy-density Lithium batteries.

The aircraft is powered by four brushless electric motors driving counter-rotating propellers.

According to EADS, the Cri-Cri emits no carbon dioxide, will be able to cruise for 30min at 60kt (110km/h), perform 15min of aerobatics at speeds up to 135kt and climb at 980ft/mom (5.3m/s).

With research projects on algae based biofuel, a helicopter hybrid propulsion system combining electrical power with piston engines and the all electric Cri-Cri, EADS is exploring technologies for environmentally friendly air travel.

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