February 29, 2024

Electra Aero: The Electric Goldfinch: Eight short electric starter propellers

The American company Electra Aero is working on a short-take-off electric plane that can accommodate nine people. The first experimental Goldfinch aircraft has now taken off.

It is characterized by its undulating and stable flight, and is considered one of the light and colorful American goldfinches due to its striking yellow plumage. The bird, also known as the goldfinch, weighs between 14 and 19 grams, the equivalent of two pieces worth approximately one euro.

In honor of the little bird, US aircraft manufacturer Electra Aero also painted its first hybrid-electric test aircraft, the EL-2 Goldfinch, in a similar bright yellow. The model is classified as a short take-off and landing (Estol) electric hybrid aircraft. Stol is an abbreviation for short take-off and landing.

Eight fans for massive lift

This is made possible thanks to eight electric fans that help blow air over the wing, significantly increasing lift. The propeller motors are powered by batteries that can be charged either before the flight or en route thanks to a turbo generator.

This is what the Electra planes should look like. Photo: Electra Aero

The two-seat plane flew for the first time in mid-November, the manufacturer announced. While the first all-electric flight took place on November 11, the first hybrid electric flight took place eight days later. It lasted 23 minutes, reached an altitude of 975 metres, and covered a distance of about 48 kilometres.

50 meters of slope should be sufficient

Electra Aero wants to use Goldfinch to test the flight characteristics of a larger, short-take-off electric commercial aircraft. This should provide space for nine passengers, and they should be able to travel at speeds of around 322 kilometers per hour and cover distances of up to 800 kilometres. The manufacturer’s goal is for the plane to be able to take off after about 50 metres.

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John Langford, Electra’s founder and president, says Electra’s goal is to “bridge the gap in air travel between 80 and 800 kilometres, where most journeys are still made by car.” If all goes well, Electra wants to deliver a prototype of the nine-seat production plane in 2025. The plane will then receive FAA certification to enter service in 2028.