The field for the world’s first ever electric air race is already halfway there with four teams announced as having entered the inaugural Air Race E event to be held next year.
Air Race E and Airbus, the Official Founding Partner of the series, revealed the first four teams to enter the race at the Paris Air Show on Monday 17th June.
Teams from The Netherlands, USA and UK have declared their intention to race and are in the process of building their electric race aircraft to meet the official race formula specifications. The teams are the first to be included in the team development phase which is aiming to enlist a minimum of eight aircraft needed to carry out a race. Eventually 16 teams are expected to join the series.
The inaugural race next year will be the first in a series of international electric air racing competitions aimed at promoting cleaner, faster and more advanced electric engines. The series is run by Air Race Events and led by world-leading air racing promoter Jeff Zaltman, the man behind the globally successful Air Race 1 series (the gasoline-powered equivalent). A formal bidding process to host the first race is now underway, with the final host venue to be decided by December.
Each race will see eight electric airplanes race directly against each other on a tight 5km circuit, just 10m above the ground, with pilots experiencing heavy G-forces in high-pressure turns around an oval circuit with seven other planes trying to overtake. The first pilot who crosses the finish line will be crowned the winner.
Zaltman said Air Race E offers the opportunity for teams from around the world to play a part in creating aviation history and contribute to finding a solution to cutting carbon emissions from air travel.
Organisers are seeking support from industry partners, suppliers and those looking to support competing teams with sponsorship or expertise. The series is open to any team with the necessary qualifications according to the rules of the sport.
About the teams
Team “AllWays Air Racing” from California, USA, will be represented by team captain and pilot Casey Erickson, an experienced Reno Air Race pilot in the bi-plane class and past president of International Aerobatic Club Chapters 36 & 131. The team is already at a midway point of building their own custom race airplane. Casey said, “it is thrilling to be on the cutting edge of technology, and all that it entails, while doing our part to create a more environmentally friendly eco-system to assist in leaving a cleaner planet for the future.”
From the UK, Team “Condor” will be led by Martyn Wiseman, who is managing director of Condor Aviation International, a company known for designing, manufacturing and testing out-of-box solutions for aircraft. The team will modify and adapt an existing sport aircraft to create their race airplane with support from Teesside and Hull Universities. Martyn said, “Air Race E is an incredible opportunity to test technology to the limit while providing the most exciting form of aviation possible. The idea of flying over 450 kph at 10 meters off the ground is sending goose bumps up our spine. We can’t wait to start.”
“Team NL” from the Netherlands will be led by Rick Boerma representing a design team formed of university students. The team will work on designing and building a new aircraft specifically for Air Race E instead of converting an existing airframe. Rick said, “to design, build, test and fly a new aircraft for the Air Race E next year is going to be a seriously difficult challenge, but one we are ready to take head on. Time is ticking, but we are excited to get started.”
Another strong competitor from the USA is Team “Blue-BETA Racing”, who in 2018 put an eVTOL in the air and has designed and built the world’s largest electric aircraft to have flown. The team is a partnership between propulsion and control system company BETA and the advanced composites company Blue Force Technologies. Kyle Clark, CEO and chief test pilot of BETA Technologies, said, “we see the Air Race E series as a design accelerant that will push the development of advanced concepts while showcasing the amazing engineers and thought leaders working in this space.”
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