For those of us who find trudging over miles of airfield, such as Oshkosh’s AirVenture, or even local fly-ins spread along a runway tiring, Grenchen, Switzerland’s Electrifly-In may be welcome relief. The event, previously called the Smartflyer Challenge, is planned for September 12 and 13 and should draw electric aircraft from all over Europe.
Grenchen, a town of just over 2,000, has an airport with a single runway of only 865 meters (2,838 feet), enough to enable a Cessna Citation CJ3 to land (and presumably depart). The runway will host this year’s newly re-named Electrifly-In, devoted to promoting electric aviation. All the activities will be held in a small, easily-accessible area.
All Electric Aircraft – All Day
A baker’s dozen aircraft have been promised for the event, ranging from ultralight motorgliders to more advanced sailplanes with front electric sustainer motors, to four-seat hybrid tourers, two-seat trainers and even an e-race airplane.
AlpinAirPlanes GmbH, will bring their Pipistrel Velis E.
Martin Stepanek will bring his two-seat, MGM Compro-powered U-15E Phoenix from the Czech Republic.
Two Swiss owners will have their Lange Antares E self-launching sailplane on display.
Cornelia Ruppert, director of communications and flight instruction for Ruppert Composite GmbH, will have an Archaeopteryx Electro on the flight line.
DG Flugzeugbau will bring its DG-1001-neo from Bruchsal, Germany. This two seat machine uses the Front Electric Sustainer System – FES from Slovenia to enable level flight or climbs after a more normal sailplane launch.
Solar Flight Europe, Eric and Irena Raymond’s pioneering enterprise, will have Sunseeker Duo, the world’s only two-seat, solar-powered aircraft available for view. Eric will also discuss the aircraft during the event’s symposium
Alisport Swiss will display its Silent 2 Electro, another craft with the FES power system on board.
The SFX1, from Team Smartflyer Ltd on the Grenchen airfield, will show its hybrid power system.
A similar craft, the Urs Viliger being developed by Evolaris, has a tail-mounted electric motor driving a propeller and a nose mounted hybrid generating system.
Pipistrel will bring its Panthera, the hybrid version currently in development, from Slovenia.
ETH, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, will show progress on its e-Sling, an electric conversion of a South African four-seat tourer.
Pie Aeronefs of Lausanne, Switzerland will show its UR-1 electric raceplane, set to compete in Air Race E in 2021. This is slated to hit a top speed of 520 kilometers per hour (323 mph)!
A Symposium with Expert Speakers
On Saturday the 12th or Sunday the 13th from 10:30 a. m. to 12:30 p. m., The Grenchen Motorfluggruppe training room will host a symposium featuring:
- Solar flight in the Sunseeker Duo
- A “Made in Switzerland” Air Race E 2021 participant, the Pie Aeronefs – UR-1 aircraft
- A recounting of a world record flight from the Alps to the North Sea (German) in a Pipistrel Velis– reported on here last week
- ETH Zurich will present its academic focus project, the eSling, an adaptation of a popular South African airplane.
Organizers promise even more talks, with ample time over the two days to meet presenters and others.
From 2:30 p. m. to 5:00 p. m. on Saturday, a panel discussion, “THE eTALK,” will bring together, “Specialists and experts from the fields of technology, training, politics, regulations, pilots, etc. [who] will address current and controversial questions. Hansjörg Bürgi, publisher of the magazine SKYNEWS, will moderate.
Best of all, if you’re flying your own electric aircraft, Grenchen Airport will waive landing fees for your entrance to the event.
Participants can also compete in the second edition of the eTrophy competition, which will reward the longest non-stop flight with electric power. Read the rules and regulations here. Registration Rules First, second, and third prizes range from 1,000 to 3,000 Swiss Francs. During the award ceremony on Saturday evening the winner of the challenge will get the eTrophy for the longest electric non-stop flight.
All in all, this would be a grand two days out, with a good compendium of the world’s electric sport aircraft on display.