Electric Airplane Sets New Speed Records

The Extra 330LE aerobatic plane, powered by a propulsion system from Siemens, set two new speed records. At the Dinslaken Schwarze Heide airfield in Germany, the electric aircraft reached a top speed of around 337.50 km/h over a distance of three kilometers. The speed achieved by pilot Walter Extra was 13.48 km/h faster than the previous record, which had been set by US pilot William M. Yates in 2013.

The World Air Sports Federation (FAI) officially recognized the record flight in the category “Electric airplanes with a take-off weight less than 1,000 kilograms.” The Extra also set a new FAI world record in the category “above 1,000 kilograms”: in a slightly modified configuration with an overall weight exceeding one metric ton, test pilot Walter Kampsmann flew the electrically powered plane at a speed of 342.86 km/h (213.0 mph).

Pilot Extra also took the plane up with a glider in tow, the first time that’s been done with an electric-powered airplane (pictured).

The airplane is a project of the Siemens corporation, which is using it as a test bed for the electric propulsion system. A 50 kg electric motor that can output 260 kW powers the plane. Siemens has partnered with Airbus, who may use the propulsion system sometime in the future.

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