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Electric plane performs taxi tests as prelude to transatlantic attempt (video)


EV flyer Long-ESA has started high-speed taxi tests on its quest to become the first electric airplane to cross the Atlantic. Using a Long-EZ kit plane designed by Burt Rutan as a platform for the volts-only powertrain, the Flight of the Century project is the brainchild of electric enthusiast Chip Yates, who already holds the speed record of 190MPH on an EV motorcycle. The developer's plan is to use a fleet of five drones to dock with the main Long-ESA ship and exchange batteries in mid-air, giving it enough juice to make the trip. Successful ground trials should lead to flight tests later this month, with the transatlantic attempt slated for 2014, followed by EV airplane speed and altitude attempts, to boot. It remains to be seen if the complex plan might result in commercial electric aviation as Yates predicts -- but judging by the video after the break it'll be fun to watch them try.

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