EADS Unveils Electric Cri Cri Aircraft

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European defence firm EADS (the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company) showcased a new pioneering electric aircraft design at the recent Green Aviation Show held in Paris.

The aircraft is based on the Colomban Cri Cri – the smallest twin-engined aircraft in the world – but adds new-age technologies and two extra engines.

The result – according to EADS – is the first four-engined, electric-powered aerobatic aircraft in history.

EADS Innovation Works is casting its net wide in the search for solutions to aviation’s environmental challenges. At the Green Aviation Show under way (June 18-22) in Le Bourget, Paris, EADS’s research arm is presenting the first four-engined, all-electric aerobatic aircraft, based on the tiny Cri-Cri homebuilt.

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Electric Cri-cri (Photo:EADS)

EADS has partnered with Aero Composites Saintonge and the Greencri-cri Association to develop the aircraft, which uses composites to reduce weight and compensate for the extra mass of the lithium batteries. The single-seat Cri-Cri is powered by four brushless electric motors driving counter-rotating propellers.

EADS says the electric Cri-cri will be able to cruise for 30min at 110km/h (60kt), perform 15min of aerobatics at speeds up to 250km/h (135kt) and climb at 5.3m/sec (980ft/min). First flight is expected in a few days, the company says. The standard Cri-cri has two 15hp piston engines, and a 100kt cruise.

The electric Cri-cri unveiling follows the Innovation Works” algae-biofuel flight demonstration at the ILA Berlin Airshow, where it also revealed its concept for a hybrid diesel-electric light helicopter. EADS and its Eurocopter subsidiary also signed an agreement with BioCombustibles del Chubut to evaluate the creation of a microalgae biofuel production plant in Brazil. Helicopter biofuel flight tests are also in the cards. Eurocopter has a subsidiary – Helibras – in Brazil.

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