By Robert Roy Britt, Editorial Director
posted: 25 June 2009 01:22 pm ET
The mainstream media flat missed this one, but we think it's a rather cool breakthrough.
Earlier this month, Italian astronaut Maurizio Cheli electrified the green flying world (okay, it's a small — but dedicated — group) with his record-setting flight of a fully electric airplane.
The electric SkySpark flew for the first time June 8, then on June 10 was airborne for 8 minutes and hit a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h). That speed is said to be a record speed for a 100-percent electrically powered aircraft, according to SkySpark.
The project is a joint enterprise between engineering company DigiSky and Turin Polytechnic University.
The two-seat Pioneer Alpi 300 is powered by a 75-kW electric motor using brushless technology and lithium polymer batteries, a SkySpark statement explains. Electronic control systems make it possible to modulate RPM and torque, "with dynamics which are far beyond what it is attainable in reciprocating engines." ...