Gallery: Cri-Cri: The World’s Smallest Electric Plane Takes Flight

 

Reminiscent of James Bond’s fold-away Acrostar mini-plane, the Cri-Cri is the world’s smallest electric plane and this week made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris. Jointly developed by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association, the lillipution aircraft is the first-ever four-engined all-electric aerobatic plane.

Designed with numerous innovative technologies, the Cri-Cri boasts a lightweight composite structure that reduces the weight of the entire plane, allowing for the additional weight of the necessary batteries and the four brushless electric motors and counter-rotating propellers. All this leads to zero CO2 emissions and less noise compared to thermal propulsion that also utilizes higher-energy density lithium batteries.

With the batteries, the Cri-Cri is able to maintain 30 minutes of autonomous cruise flight at 110km/h or an alternative 15 minutes of autonomous aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 250 km/h. For the test flight, the plane remained airborne for 7 minutes before landing.

“The Cri-Cri is a low-cost test bed for system integration of electrical technologies in support of projects like our hybrid propulsion concept for helicopters,” stated Jean Botti, EADS’s Chief Technical Officer. “We hope to get a lot of useful information out of this project.”

The Cri-Cri is not the only ‘environmental form of air travel’  that EADS is researching. Currently the company is also experimenting with algae based biofuel and a helicopter hybrid propulsion system combining electrical power with piston engines. With such technologies being enhanced, could it only be a matter of time before air travel is no longer one of the largest polluters on the planet, but one of the cleanest?

+ EADS

Images © EADS

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4 Comments

  1. curious1 November 14, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    It’s a miracle that it leaves the ground with such small horsepower. What is the horsepower of each electric motor ? It can’t be more than a quarter HP per motor for a total of one HP.
    Let’s be generous and say the total HP is two. That would be pushing the limits on the motor size as it appears to be about 4″ in diameter (compared to the pilot’s head dimension). Maybe they use large hidden rubber bands to back up the electric power.

  2. Electrical Wiring Could... September 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm

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  3. mudshark12 September 9, 2010 at 1:46 am

    What an amazing airplane! Zero CO2 emission, practically noiseless as well as very stylish. I’m very impressed and hope they can come up with a longer range version some day soon,

  4. mkass September 8, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    This is a very cool concept. Hopefully this sort of technology will start to be more widely available. It would be great to have the flying motorcycle concept as an electric: http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/2009/06/traffic-problems-try-a-flying-motorcycle/

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