Using an EV converted Long-EZ airplane Chip Yates has achieved a speed of 202.6-MPH during a second test flight on July 19, 2012 at Inyokern Airport in California.
Purchased by Flight of the Century (FOTC) in April, 2012 as an R&D plane for development of the company's patented mid-air recharging technology, the highly modified Rutan Long-EZ (now "Long-ESA" for Electric Speed & Altitude) underwent a complete restoration and conversion from gasoline power to all-electric power in just two months at FOTC headquarters.
The unprecedented test program then moved to FOTC's Inyokern Airport facility, with a first taxi test July 14th, first runway test July 16th, first flight July 18th, and world record flight July 19th.
FOTC is engaged in a cooperative relationship with the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, who deployed high speed telemetry, radar and tracking cameras to capture Yates' historic flight adjacent to their restricted airspace. After the flight, officials from China Lake visited the FOTC hangar at Inyokern Airport to corroborate the flight data, which will presented at Oshkosh.
Military and special operations interest in FOTC's unique high speed, long/infinite range electric manned and UAV technology is piqued because radar has difficulty locking onto the composite structure and infrared cameras struggle to find any measurable heat signature from the all-electric powerplant to track with.
"Our ability to fly long and fast without detection has definitely raised some eyebrows", said FOTC CEO and test pilot Chip Yates. "I want to see our high-performance electric powertrain and mid-air recharging systems used to advance the cause of electric airplanes in general, and in the short term, the military applications are really interesting".
FOTC engineers have abbreviated and expedited the initial taxi/flight test program in order to quickly generate data, video and knowledge to share with some 550,000 attendees at the 2012 EAA AirVenture Oshkosh event, which runs July 23-29, 2012 (airventure.org) and where the record-setting Long-ESA will be on central display along with Chip's Guinness World Record holding electric superbike in the Innovations Hangar-South.
Following Oshkosh, the company intends to equip the Long-ESA with a custom designed lithium-ion series of battery packs and a front-mounted recharging probe to test mid-air tethering and battery jettison & rebalance technologies. The company expects a top speed of 230-250 MPH with the full-size battery pack in place in September. Attempts at world records for altitude will follow.