The field for the world’s first ever electric aircraft air race is already halfway there with four teams having entered the inaugural Air Race E event to be held next year.
Teams from the Netherlands, USA and the UK have declared their intention to race and are in the process of building their electric race aircraft to meet the official race formula specifications. The teams are the first to be included in the team development phase, which aims to enlist a minimum of eight aircraft needed to carry out a race. Eventually, 16 teams are expected to join the series.
The inaugural race next year will be the first in a series of international electric air racing competitions aimed at promoting cleaner, faster and more advanced electric engines. The series is run by Air Race Events and led by world-leading air racing promoter Jeff Zaltman, the man behind the globally successful Air Race 1 series (the kerosene-powered equivalent). A formal bidding process to host the first race is now underway, with the final host venue to be decided by December.
Each race will see eight electric aircraft race against each other on a tight 5km circuit, just 10m above the ground, with pilots experiencing heavy G-forces in high-pressure turns around an oval circuit. The first pilot who crosses the finishing line will be crowned the winner.
Zaltman said Air Race E offers the opportunity for teams from around the world to play a part in creating aviation history and contribute to finding a solution to cutting carbon emissions from air transport.
Organisers are seeking support from industry partners, suppliers and those looking to back competing teams with sponsorship or expertise. The series is open to any team with the necessary qualifications according to the rules of the sport.
Jeff Zaltman will be available to meet with interested parties from Tuesday, 18 June at the Airbus Chalet at the Paris Air Show
For more information go to https://airracee.com/
Team “AllWays Air Racing” from California, USA, will be represented by team captain and pilot Casey Erickson, an experienced Reno Air Race pilot in the bi-plane class and past president of International Aerobatic Club Chapters 36 & 131. The team is already at a midway point of building their own custom race airplane. Erickson said: “It is thrilling to be on the cutting edge of technology, and all that it entails, while doing our part to create a more environmentally friendly eco-system to assist in leaving a cleaner planet for the future.”
From the UK, Team “Condor” will be led by Martyn Wiseman, who is managing director of Condor Aviation International, a company known for designing, manufacturing and testing out-of-the-box solutions for aircraft. The team will modify and adapt an existing sport aircraft to create their race airplane with support from Teesside and Hull Universities. Wiseman said: “Air Race E is an incredible opportunity to test technology to the limit while providing the most exciting form of aviation possible. The idea of flying over 450 kph at 10 meters off the ground is giving me goose bumps. We can’t wait to start.”
“Team NL” from the Netherlands will be led by Rick Boerma, representing a design team formed of university students. The team will work on designing and building a new aircraft specifically for Air Race E instead of converting an existing airframe. Boerma said: “To design, build, test and fly a new aircraft for the Air Race E next year is going to be a seriously difficult challenge, but one we are ready to take head on. Time is ticking, but we are excited to get started.”
Another strong competitor from the USA is Team “Blue-BETA Racing”, which in 2018 put an eVTOL in the air and has designed and built the world’s largest electric aircraft to have flown. The team is a partnership between propulsion and control system company BETA and the advanced composites company Blue Force Technologies. Kyle Clark, CEO and chief test pilot of BETA Technologies, said: "We see the Air Race E series as a design accelerant that will push the development of advanced concepts while showcasing the amazing engineers and thought leaders working in this space."
Air Race E will become the world’s first all-electric airplane race when it launches its inaugural series of international races in 2020. Run by Air Race Events and led by world-leading air racing promoter Jeff Zaltman, the man behind the globally successful Air Race 1 World Cup, the race is set to revolutionise air racing and pioneer innovations in electric aviation. Air Race E will see electric airplanes race directly against each other on a tight 5km circuit just 10m above the ground and at speeds faster than any land-based motorsport. The demand for speed, performance and power management under the rigors of a competitive race environment provide the perfect platform for the development and promotion of cleaner, faster and more technologically-advanced electric engines. The Light Aircraft Association (LAA), has committed its support in developing the technical regulations and providing design oversight for the sport, soon to be sanctioned by the Formula Air Racing Association (FARA) and its counter-part in France, the Association des Pilotes D'Avions de Formules (APAF).
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