About The Team
Pie Aeronefs SA is a Swiss electric aircraft manufacturer. Our company was born in March 2020 after our CEO, Marc Umbricht, reflected a lot about developing next-gen electric aircraft that could replace ageing piston-engine general aviation airplanes.
After discovering the upcoming Air Race E event, we wanted to use this opportunity to evolve in a competitive environment. This will enable us to design an experimental racer as a first project and keep us moving forward with a tight timeline. In addition, we do not only need to prove our aircraft flies, but also that it’s efficient.
Left to right: Marc Umbricht – Chief Executive Officer, Chief Technical Officer, Pilot, Fabrice Allaz – Expert in Composite Materials, Florian Bernhard – Junior Composite Technician, Sandra Lourenco – Structural Engineer, Marc Lauper – Aircraft Technician, Oliver Ensslin – Mechanical Design Engineer, Timothy Kriegers – Chief Marketing Officer and Sponsorship outreach. Not on picture: Magnus jonsson – Aerodynamic engineer, Cyril Petryniak – IT Technician, Sandra Lourenco – Structural engineer
Explain us about your plane process
The design of our first race aircraft, the UR-1, is in advanced development and we are manufacturing many parts concurrently with the design process. As of this writing, our wing molds are complete, our ailerons are almost done, and the battery-system and the motor are in testing. We also have a completed glass fiber prototype of the fuselage for integration tests.
This race aircraft is a single-seater with a single motor, fixed pitch propeller, V-shaped tail, and fixed landing gear. For our future aircraft, we will try more innovative concepts such as the distributed electric propulsion.
What is the powertrain concept for the plane?
Our electrical system is custom designed by our partners at LZ-Tec s.r.o. in Czechia. The main battery pack is comprised of lithium-polymer cell stacks which provide the immense power necessary to run our Emrax 348 motor. Battery information is displayed directly to the pilot, who can direct power output with a simple thrust control lever. If desired, the pilot can even use regenerative braking to recharge the batteries in flight.
What is the standout feature of the plane?
The most striking feature of our first aircraft, the UR-1, is the V-tail design. This reduces “Interference Drag”, a parasite drag phenomenon caused when two aerodynamic surfaces intersect such as in an aircraft tail. By reducing the number of tail surfaces, we reduce the number of intersections and thus drag.
How do you think Air Race E will affect the future of sustainability and engineering?
New Technologies, such as high-power, low-mass electric motors are enabling the development of electric vehicles in racing and aerobatic aviation. They have always had a very advantageous power-to-weight and power to price ratio compared to their combustion-powered counterparts.
But above all they provide a dramatic reduction in noise pollution and a complete elimination of direct emissions.
Air Race E will play a key role in the popularisation of these technologies and will push the development of electric aviation in the near future.
What are your plans for the future?
We will develop a new experimental aircraft, the UR-2, concurrently with our participation in Air Race E for the next five years. The UR-2 will be equipped with Distributed Electric Propulsion. It will serve as a test bed for a future commercialized and certified all-electric 4-Seater aircraft that will fly for 3 to 4 hours at 120 KIAS that should be available as of 2026.
What are you most looking forward to about Air Race E?
We believe that Air Race E is a wonderful opportunity to test our design concepts in a competitive environment, allowing us to hone our skills. The technologies we perfect today in Air Race E will be in the aircraft we sell tomorrow.
New Technologies, such as high-power, low-mass electric motors are enabling the development of electric vehicles in racing and aerobatic aviation. They have always had a very advantageous power-to-weight and power to price ratio compared to their combustion-powered counterparts. But above all they provide a dramatic reduction in noise pollution and a complete elimination of emissions.
Air Race E will play a key role in the popularization of these technologies and will push the development of electric aviation in the not too distant future.