On day one of the Dubai Airshow, the world’s first electric racing aircraft was introduced, featuring custom-made technology built by one of the race teams set to take part in next year’s inaugural Air Race E event. Air Race E, a pioneering electric air racing series headed by international air racing promoter Jeff Zaltman, made history by unveiling the aircraft on display at the airshow, in collaboration with the Official Founding Partner of the series, Airbus.
Speaking at the presentation, Air Race E CEO and founder Jeff Zaltman said: “Not only for Air Race E, but for the aviation industry as a whole, this is a pivotal moment. Through setting up an electric racing series, our goal is to develop a unifying forum for cleaner, quicker and more technologically advanced electric aircraft to develop. The racing series will provide a technology testbed and accelerate the road to commercial electric travel. We have now shown that it is possible and are on track to make history again when next year’s aircraft like the one on display at the Dubai Airshow will take to the skies for the challenge.
The E-Racer Model is the first ever example of an electric race aircraft designed by Team Condor in their workshop in northern England located in Yorkshire using a highly modified Cassutt aircraft with a rich history of formula air racing from 1979. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s, the modified Cassutt racer called White Lightning was once a fixture on the formula one racing circuit in Europe, with owner and pilot Andrew Chadwick winning a range of podium finishes to add to the racing legacy of White Lightning. Since then, Chadwick has donated the aircraft to Team Condor for the upcoming Air Race E series to participate.
The custom electric motor will allow the aircraft to operate at speeds of around 300MPH. Based on the electric equation, the cumulative peak continuous power will be set at 150kW during the races. More than 100 kg of lithium batteries mounted under the aircraft fuselage will provide energy for five minutes of high-intensity racing and about 10 minutes of low-power reserve flight.
The E-Racer prototype on display at the Dubai Airshow, dubbed White Lightning, is one of two electric race planes closest to completion, the other being designed as part of its £ 13 million ($16.8 million) Propulsion Futures Beacons of Excellence development programme at the University of Nottingham’s Aerospace Technology Center in the UK. Project lead Richard Glassock, a University of Nottingham engineering fellow, has also been instrumental in the development of White Lightning and expects to have his model in the air by early next year.