Electric 'Airbus' takes to the air

2010-09-02 21:33

Paris - Airbus' parent company EADS says its all-electric experimental aircraft has performed its maiden flight.

The Cri-Cri, the first four-engine all-electric plane, is the latest effort to develop a battery-powered aircraft with performance comparable to light, piston-engine aircraft.

EADS says the single-seater made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris on Thursday.

The Cri-Cri's lithium batteries give it 30 minutes of autonomous flight at 110km/h.

There have been significant improvements in the endurance of electric propulsion systems for light aircraft in recent years.

A number of firms in the evolving field are working on new designs, including one by Sikorsky Aircraft which is likely to become the world's first electric helicopter.