We caught up with the Official Air Race E Teams to learn more about their progress during 2020 and their plans and visions for 2021.
The project started in March 2020 with the idea to design and develop an electric aircraft by ourselves. After finding the right people to join our team, we started this Summer with the construction of the so-called UR-1 race plane. By the end of November, we already made a glass fibre mock-up of the fuselage and a wing-spar in carbon fibre. Both will now be used for testing in the future.
We are currently finalizing the wing box and by the end of this year, we expect to complete destructive testing of the wing box and begin the fabrication of the wing-mold.
During 2021, our next steps will be: successful fabrication of the UR-1 race plane, including flight testing, certification and licensing our pilot with the ARE pilot licence in order to take part to the 2021 ARE qualifying event!
We grew from a 3-member team to a 15-member team that includes (with some crossover):
4 pilots, 4 Engineers, 3 Senior Systems Developers, 4 Marketing and Communications
2 Event Coordinators, 1 Bonafide scientist
– The most awesome looking team in electric air racing history!
We have also recruited our Chief Pilot, Philip Goforth, a first-class F1 racer.
Furthermore, we have successfully built and tested a scale model of our motor and controls. We are not quite ready to reveal too much but have included some teaser photos. It is the world’s first 3D printed motor. It´s very big technological achievement!
We are currently preparing a media campaign to tell the story, ending in a reveal in February.
We also acquired our aircraft and are in the process of customizing it for our powertrain and have successfully built and tested a scale model of our motor and controls.
For 2021 our plans are to do a custom race plane reveal in January as well as a motor reveal in February. We also hope to display the plane at Sun & Fun and Oshkosh and to produce other electric vehicles such as Scooter, Motorcycle, Car, Truck etc. to demo the powertrain.
“We are very close to acquiring the Cassutt IIIM race plane now, only a few minor snags to solve and we hope to be flying it conventionally (not electric) before Christmas or at least in January.
We also have the electric motor (Emrax 268) set up and close to running at low RPM’s for the first time, and have ordered the propeller and other components”
Additionally, we are happy to have Emrax, Ansys, Beringer and Duc as equipment sponsors so far and still looking for more sponsors to join in the future!
Plans for 2021 are to get the test bench and jig up and running, but still dependant on more sponsors.
We have and are still working on our aircraft design and we hope that we can present that in the beginning of next year! After that we will start on the production of the aircraft for which we would still need to find more partners and sponsors.
Recently we printed a small 1:40 scale model on the 3D printer and we plan to build a 1:10 model soon as well.
Talking about achievements in 2020, we have completed the balancing and reinforcement of our airframe. We installed a refurbished engine to classic Formula 1 standards as well as light and reliable Beringer wheels and brakes.
Since then, we have been focused on accumulating data and make sure our pilot gets better familiarity with flying a racer. We have started with qualifying laps and race simulation. This is to better focus on the ideal powertrain.
Work in progress is to compare the projected data with actual numbers. Apart from that, we have worked in the simulation area with a brand-new top level 100% dedicated platform. Our group of engineers have also started with 3D modelling of our aircraft.
Getting more familiar with the Ansys software suite, we have completed a first run of our wing at racing speeds. About electrification, we follow the philosophy to install an electrical powertrain at least equivalent or better than the classic 4 stroke Continental O-200. We have designed our Emrax 268CC engine installation.
Autonomous installation fully configured running an Emrax 228. Great step!
As for 2021, our priority, aside with minimum performance; say 200mph for 5 minutes, to demonstrate the reality of the concept. My vision is that we need to bring maximum fun at a reasonable cost. From a technical point of view, it will make sense as it could be replicated in the general aviation field. And from a competition point of view, we would have aircrafts close enough to keep a human fight during the races.
About our plans, from a technical point of view, we will start with automotive derived units as the safety standards are the highest in force. General architecture and software will have to be invented to meet a fail-safe capability. We will try to keep a realistic approach. A Scramasaxe sistership will be fully dedicated to the ground experiments. Do not ask me when we will fly. When we are ready.
Pilot wise, we plan to gather experience in the Pilot racing seminar and do our best to take part in the 2021 Reno Air races in the formula One class. This will be a fantastic time to reinforce our fighting spirit among the team, partners and fans. Hopefully, Air race E first appearance will follow shortly afterwards.