Long-range electric aerospace company Flight of the Century announced their intentions to design, build, and fly an all-electric aircraft from New York to Paris along the same 3,600 mile historic route pioneered by Charles Lindbergh in 1927.
The company additionally announced the constraints it will use to judge the success or failure of its record attempt, which is currently planned for 2014:
- Exact route and mileage flown by Charles Lindbergh (or further): Roosevelt Field, NY no longer exists, so a New York takeoff location as close as practicable but further from Paris will be used
- Equal or faster average speed to that achieved by Charles Lindbergh (108 mph)
- Equal or lower altitude to that flown by Charles Lindbergh: Max 10,000 feet MSL (no Jetstream advantage)
- All-electric powered aircraft, carrying no fossil fuels, no helium (no blimps)
- Manned aircraft, flown by the pilot(s) on-board, non-stop
"Our purpose in setting out on this very difficult path is to force innovation that drives electric flight technology forward in a significant and measurable way," said Flight of the Century CEO Chip Yates. "You could fly this route today in an unmanned solar craft at 80,000 feet being blown over there by the Jetstream, or in something incredibly slow, or in a balloon, but that doesn't get our society any closer to realizing long-range, legitimate payload, electric flight capabilities that everybody can actually benefit from."
Flight of the Century engineers are using their recently filed worldwide patent (61/618,482) that enables electric aircraft to remain aloft indefinitely by docking with flying UAV battery pods as the basis for their custom designed transatlantic aircraft, which is expected to have a wingspan greater than 100 feet.
The company has also developed a software optimization tool based on NASA's OTIS4 Software (Optimal Trajectories by Implicit Simulation) that in-house flight engineers are using to identify ideal locations along the Lindbergh route from which to launch and recover a series of flying supplemental UAV battery pods to recharge the all-electric transatlantic aircraft during the non-stop flight. One transatlantic scenario involves the use of 5 strategically launched and recovered UAV battery packs which could presumably employ solar or wind charging.
In support of the Lindbergh mission, the Flight of the Century team is closing in on the maiden flight of their 258 horsepower electric test aircraft, scheduled for July, 2012. Dubbed the Long-ESA ("Electric Speed & Altitude"), the converted Burt Rutan designed Long-EZ will serve as a development platform for the company's long-range battery pack docking technology and will also be used to attempt altitude and speed records in manned electric flight categories.