Published on July 23rd, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro3
Video: Chip Yates Sets Electric Airplane Speed Record
Off The Record, But Still Important
Of course such a record attempt doesn’t just materialize overnight. It took Yates and his team months to convert a Long-EZ airplane to all-electric power, renaming it the Long-ESA (Electric Speed & Altitude). Powered by a 250 horsepower UQM motor the Long-ESA, with Yates at the yoke, managed to set an unofficial air speed record of 202.6 mph.
Unofficial because Yates was unable to do a repeat run after he apparently pushed the battery pack too far, too fast, frying the 12 kWh pack and leaving the Long-ESA with a no-power problem. Showing us why he does what he does, Yates kept his cool and brought the electric airplane back to Earth in one piece. And so for the second time in a year, Chip Yates has broken an electric speed record on vehicles he had a hand in designing himself.
Yates’ efforts were backed by Flight of the Century, who are pursuing a composite, long range/infinite flight airplane or UAV project with the U.S. Navy watching their progress. The project is doubly beneficial because radar has a hard time tracking the composite body structure, and infared tracking can’t really lock on to the (comparatively) low heat signature of an electric powertrain. Scary stuff if you’re a bad guy, that’s for sure.
You’ve got to admire a person who puts their own lives at risk for both the thrill of record breaking, and at the same timing daring humanity to push the technological envelope. Yates reasons for doing what he does may be selfish or they may be noble. Either way, he is challenging the status quo, and showing us what is possible with different kinds of technology. Sure, his battery failed, but he will be back with an even better battery, and more speed. Because people like Yates just have to go fast.
Source: Autoblog Green