Chip Yates is our generation’s Chuck Yeager. He’s a freakin’ hero, in other words- having set speed record on 200 MPH electric motorcycles, run at Pike’s Peak, and built his own go-fast electric airplane, already, Yates’ place in Gen-X’s pantheon of awesome is already assured. Still, it never hurts to make things official, and that’s exactly what happened just last week: the five (5!?) world records Yates set last year in his electric plane were finally officially verified by the Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI).
The best part of all this, however, might just be that Yates’ record-setting plane – which he calls the Electric Long ESA – could be yours for just $100,000! If that sounds like a lot to you, check out how the ESA stacks up against its peers …
… so, yeah. Really not bad at all for the battery-powered plane. As for how that’s possible, consider that (like cars powered by batteries) electric planes offer a few performance benefits over their oil-burning brothers. Most prominently, internal-combustion engines need oxygen to burn fuel and generate power. As a plane (or car) climbs higher in altitude, there is less oxygen to use, so engine power and climb rate (speed) drop as altitude rises. That’s not the case for battery-powered vehicles, however, which don’t need oxygen and which can benefit aerodynamically from thinner air causing less drag. Indeed, Yates claims his plane will climb at a rate of 2,000 feet per minute until it runs out of power.
As for the wisdom might be present – or absent! – in running an EV out of power at however many thousand feet in the air, I’ll leave that to you, dear readers, to comment on. As for Yates, however, he has his sights set on being our generation’s Charles Lindbergh, too. Enjoy!
Source | Images: FAI, via Wired Autopia.