A Great Year and Gala Day for Yuneec

Dean Sigler Uncategorized Leave a Comment

 Last year, we knew Yuneec for its tidy power package for paramotors, the 10 kW EPac.  We were awaiting developments on the EP200, a twin-motored, single-place ultralight that looked as though it would be powered by two EPac units.  Springtime, 2009 brought the news that a two-seater was under development, and summer brought surprise after surprise. 

The 40 kW (54 horsepower) E430 made its first flights on June 12, 2009, followed by further testing on June 20.  Test pilot Sun Xun managed two flights of 15 minutes, achieving a top speed of 150 kilometers per hour (93 mph) a climb rate of 7 meters per second (1,377 feet per minute), and a maximum altitude of 300 meters (960 feet).  Sun commented on the quiet and smooth nature of motor operation.

The prototype was quickly bundled up and shipped to Camarillo, California, where test pilot Dave Morss and members of EAA Chapter 723 gave the airplane a more stringent shakedown, in preparation for its debut at AirVenture 2009.  In three days, they put more than 20 hours on the plane, enabling the FAA to certify it for flight at Oshkosh.  On July 14, 2009 the plane was given US registration N386CX and on July 18, 2009 was given a Certificate of Airworthiness by the Federal Aviation Administration, then almost immediately shipped to Wisconsin.

On July 19, Tom Peghiny flew his ultralight eSpyder with a Yuneec 27 hp motor, and like Sun Xun, commented on the smoothness, quietness, and ease of operation.  He then took his new craft to Oshkosh.

Oshkosh allowed Yuneec to show the full range of their products, with EPacs, the eSpyder, and E430.  Big as AirVenture was, it was a mere warm up for what was to follow.

Old and New - Breezy Leading E430 at Oshkosh

Old and New - Breezy Leading E430 at Oshkosh

On September 3, at Yuneec’s factory airfield outside Shanghai, Mr. Gerard Thevenot, who earlier in August set a new record crossing the English Channel using a Hydrogen powered Hang glider (see Man of La Manche, October 29, in this blog) – set a duration record using a Yuneec-powered hang glider – one hour and 16 minutes.

The October 10th opening of Yuneec’s 25,000 square meter, Phase 1 new factory in Shanghai., with its own flying site, saw the first such facility “to be dedicated solely to the production of electric aircraft.”  Over 500 local and international guests, local officials and members of the press watched the world’s first fully electric airshow.

From Yuneec’s press release, “Following the speeches and opening ceremony Yuneec displayed 5 different types of electric aircraft being developed or tested with electric power systems by Yuneec…. During this show two of Yuneec’s E430, twin seat, electric aircraft flew in formation setting yet another world first and confirming Yuneec’s leading position in the world of electric flight.

Grand Opening Ceremonies at Yuneec's Shanghai Factory

Grand Opening Ceremonies at Yuneec's Shanghai Factory

“Flying in the show among others were Dave Morss, Yuneec’s American Test Pilot, and Jean-Renaud Faliu in the E430’s, Tom Peghiny in a FlightStar E-Spyder and World Paramotor Champion Michel Carnet with E-PAC, Yuneec’s electric paramotor system.  At the end of the Show J. R. Faliu made the first ever landing of a Yuneec E430 at the new facility.”

A portent of things to come, “Yuneec is working on developing a solar-cell installation for the wings that will recharge the aircraft’s batteries.”

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