On 29 June 2022, a two-seater electric ultralight aircraft Elektra Trainer from Elektra Solar GmbH (a spin-off of the DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics) took off for its maiden flight at Memmingen International Airport. Electric flying in Germany is becoming a reality step by step.
The aircraft took off between business jets and commercial aircraft in less than 100 m silently and emission-free. After about 20 minutes of flight, test pilot Uwe Nortmann landed, confirming the extraordinary characteristics of the aircraft, which even exceeded the expectations of the developers. Rising like a jet with over 8 m/s, flying in low cruising flight with only about 10 kW of power, without vibrations in the cockpit and perfect stability promise the aircraft a great market future.
This aircraft accumulates the company’s decades of experience in the development of solar-electric aircraft. Elektra Trainer is mainly based on the proven technology of Elektra One, the single-seat electric aircraft from Elektra Solar, which was certified last year in the German ultralight (UL) class.
Elektra Trainer was designed as an ideal aircraft for flight schools and flight clubs. The operating costs are less than 60 EUR/hour, which is about half the cost of a classic ultralight aircraft. This price difference will increase from year to year due to rapidly rising fuel costs.
With this aircraft, Elektra Solar GmbH takes into operation a cloud infrastructure for automatic system diagnostics and preventive maintenance (Digital Aircraft Platform). The system state data of the flight are uploaded to a cloud and automatically analysed with the help of AI-algorithms. The errors and deviations from the normal condition are reported to the owner and/or a maintenance company. Thanks to this technology, the safety of operation will be increased, and the maintenance effort will be further reduced.
After this maiden flight, we will begin the certification flight tests and are very confident of completing the German UL certification by the end of this year. We have been preparing the series production and will open the European market in the next few years.
The highlights of Elektra Trainer are:
- 2.5 hours flight duration and 300 km range
- Dual redundant electric drive system
- High comfort (1.25 m wide cockpit for 2 m tall pilots)
- Assembly time from transport trailer to ready to fly: about 30 minutes
- Portable 12 kW charging station (in the luggage compartment)
- Variable pitch propeller
- Electric retractable landing gear
- Digital aircraft platform for automatic system diagnostics and preventive maintenance
- Very good gliding properties (glide number over 25)
Elektra Solar will gradually expand its electric aircraft family to a 10-seater regional mobility and community-friendly (low-noise) electric aircraft. We are very confident that in less than 10 years a 10-seater regional electric aircraft from Elektra Solar with a range of more than 500 km will take off from Memmingen.