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Electric Aircraft Come Center Stage
Many electric airship projects are progressing apace as is the conversion of a best-selling Cessna to electric. There are also swarming electric micro-craft that collaborate using latest computer technology and the huge success of hand-launched military and civilian surveillance aircraft, further orders having been placed. In the IDTechEx report, Electric Aircraft 2012-2022 www.IDTechEx.com/EVaircraft, these and other latest developments are fully covered. For example, pure electric fixed wing aircraft are proving ideal for training where their silence and easy, low cost refuelling from solar panels is valued and the short duration of flight is not a problem. For longer duration, hybrids will be the way to go initially and several versions have been trialled recently with innovative range extenders. In some cases there is no loss of power with height, just like a pure electric craft.
Showing what will follow are the intercontinental and soon round-the-world flights of craft using nothing but photovoltaics on-board. The radically lighter-weight motors being researched will help all these projects and also with the pure electric helicopter that has now flown as well as the hybrid. In both cases, the primary cause of fatal crashes with helicopters is greatly reduced or eliminated. It is not all about landing silently in residential areas at night, though that is valued as well. Read about fixed-wing unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs that will soon stay aloft for five years just on sunshine and consider the size of the projects, some over half a million dollars. Here are a few of the smaller ones past and present.
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