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Smallest Manned Electric Plane Flies

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the if-it-didn't-fly-would-it-be-a-plane dept.

Transportation 131

garymortimer writes "EADs have successfully flown an electrified Cri-Cri aircraft. The Cri-cri (short for cricket) is the smallest twin-engined manned aircraft in the world, designed in the early 1970s by French aeronautical engineer Michel Colomban, the Cri-cri aircraft is the world's smallest twin-engine . At only 4.9 m (16.1 ft) wingspan and 3.9 m (12.8 ft) length, it is a single-seater, making an impression of a dwarf velomobile with wings at close range. After its manned flight trials the airframe will be configured for autonomous flight. Obviously once the pilot is removed payload increases dramatically and the airframe itself has been approved for manned flight so certifying it for UAV flight should be simpler."

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131 comments

Coal powered? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503854)

If the source of pollution is removed from sight does it make it "clean and green"?

I love electric planes. A spark to the imagination!

Re:Coal powered? (1)

PagosaSam (884523) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503876)

"Are you saying this sucker's nuclear???"

Re:Coal powered? (1)

Stupid McStupidson (1660141) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504412)

It's "NEWQ YOU LERRR". Get it right or I'll worsh your mouth out.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503980)

Since it was presented at Le Bourget, it's a fair bet to say the electricity to recharge the batteries was provided by some nuclear powerplant.

Also, the electric version has four engines; making Cri-Cri the smallest 4-engined aircraft now, too.

Re:Coal powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504032)

It's not an engine, it's an electric motor.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504168)

It's not an engine, it's an electric motor.

An engine (or motor) is a machine designed to convert energy into useful mechanical motion.

I'd say an electric motor qualifies as an engine.

Re:Coal powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504228)

No, an engine converts thermal energy (e.g. expansion of chemical reaction, but also the heat in an external combustion engine) into mechanical energy.

A motor converts electrical energy into mechanical energy.

Most cars with an engine use a motor to start the engine.

Re:Coal powered? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504608)

General Motors and Ford Motor Company might disagree with your redefinition of the word motor. And by the way, don't put motor oil in the starter.

Re:Coal powered? (2, Informative)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504960)

Christ.

engine: machine for powering equipment: a machine that converts an energy source into mechanical power or motion

"Engine" has the same root as "ingenious," and is attested in the English "engine," "gin," (like cotton gin) "ginny," and "jenny" (like "spinning jenny").

If it transduces force (force of a working fluid under heat/pressure or any other force) into motion, it's an engine. It's a positively ancient concept and the use of the term (and its cognates) predates the industrial revolution.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505702)

Although the AC is right as to the connotations that the two words have developed over the years, you're right, strictly speaking they mean the same thing.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505710)

'ingenious' maybe we shouldn't call an ICE an engine then, seeing that it wastes 75% of the energy provided to it ?

Re:Coal powered? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505836)

Considering it has to work as described by unforgiving thermodynamic cycles and within limitations of real world (limits of materials, changing operating conditions, avoidance of excessive emissions & noise, a need to fit into specific budget), it's not too bad.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

polar red (215081) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506050)

electric engines : >90%

Re:Coal powered? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506288)

What's your point? Electric motors run on electricity, which is very low-entropy and easy to use. Internal combustion engines run on heat produced by a chemical reaction. Given their power source and the constraints on responsiveness, power to weight ratio and performance, internal combustion engines are goddamn amazing.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506274)

Correct. Likewise, 'motor' comes from the latin 'moto', 'to set in motion'.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504374)

Engine != (though includes obviously) heat engine.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504496)

I have seen four engined aero models.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505544)

I wasn't aware even midgets are light enough to fly those.

Seriously., those models a bit out of context, don't you think? (especially considering that, when using smallest electric motors, sub-0.5m wingspan is doable)

Re:Coal powered? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504732)

If the source of pollution is removed from sight does it make it "clean and green"?

Is there some unique property of coal-generated electricity that a solar panel or nuclear generator couldn't replicate?

Re:Coal powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505234)

Throttling, sun comes and goes, nuclear plants don't wind up and down enough in a day, Coal is more flexible though natural gas is still needed to fill the gaps. Batteries do a small and growing amount of load leveling and can extend grid capacity. To me this is a heart warming battery story. It is also enticing story about quieter aviation. This plane might just manage to outperform a pterodactyl of similar dimensions.

Re:Coal powered? (1)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505300)

So you don't see the ecological value of a vehicle that isn't picky about where it's energy comes from?

Re:Coal powered? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505342)

Is there some unique property of coal-generated electricity that a solar panel or nuclear generator couldn't replicate?

Coal-generated electricity isn't extravagantly expensive.

... nuclear generator couldn't replicate? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506186)

Yes, the safety of its waste. That said, I wonder if the wings could be fitted with solar cells. Not necessarily enough to fly continuously on, but just enough to charge the batteries when parked outside. I don't know how heavy solar cells are though, and what impact they have on the strength of the structure (can you laminate them on or do you have to drill holes?).

Re:Coal powered? (1)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505180)

The sole reason this story is notable is the power source, which happens to be electric.
OP may be incorrect, since it's likely that nuclear power was used to charge the batteries in question, but this story is about electric power.
Questioning the efficiency, practicality or environmental consequences of electric power is not offtopic, even if makes some people uncomfortable.

While I congratulate the designers... (-1, Redundant)

bogaboga (793279) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503870)

...I see a potential problem:

When it crashes, you, the pilot, absorbs the entire forces involved. Chances of survival are dimmed if not non existent.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503878)

If you're the pilot, why would you crash it on purpose in the first place?

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504432)

It's sorta instinct if you're a beta tester...

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (0, Redundant)

Puli (705064) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503982)

And what stops you from ejecting/jumping off the plane??

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (2, Interesting)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504034)

...I see a potential problem:

When it crashes, you, the pilot, absorbs the entire forces involved. Chances of survival are dimmed if not non existent.

That plane is an experimental plane for one.

Secondly, I see planes like that at my local airport with gasoline engines (single engine in the rear - I forgot what they're called.). This plane isn't out of the ordinary when it comes to any crash abilities or lack thereof.

Lastly, have you ever flown in a Cessna 172? It's a tin can with an engine. The trick is not to crash - hence all the safety training pilots go through even for the Sport Pilot license.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (2, Informative)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504636)

...I see a potential problem:

When it crashes, you, the pilot, absorbs the entire forces involved. Chances of survival are dimmed if not non existent.

That plane is an experimental plane for one.

Secondly, I see planes like that at my local airport with gasoline engines (single engine in the rear - I forgot what they're called.). This plane isn't out of the ordinary when it comes to any crash abilities or lack thereof.

Lastly, have you ever flown in a Cessna 172? It's a tin can with an engine. The trick is not to crash - hence all the safety training pilots go through even for the Sport Pilot license.

It also moves very slowly. Unlike airline crashes, most passengers walk away from private plane crashes. The stories with fatal endings get more coverage and skew the news reports.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505528)

But with airline crashes most passengers also walk away. In fact, airliners are between on and two orders of magnitude less fatal (per time of flying) than general aviation.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506312)

[...](single engine in the rear - I forgot what they're called.).

The rear engine / rear propeller is simply referred to as a 'pusher prop' configuration. Often pusher prop light planes are configured with a canard wing [wikimedia.org] .

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504038)

Think of it in the categories of simple, small, homebuilt aircraft (which it is)

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504504)

Hard to imagine it being simple and cheap if EADS are involved.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504218)

Being so small means that they could put a parachute on that. Of course, you'd have to do stuff like not blow up or catch fire midflight or play chicken with a mountain and you'd have to have some way of activating it, possibly via automatic means.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504426)

Playing chicken with a Mountain in a 747 is fatal too.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (0, Offtopic)

GrumblyStuff (870046) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505404)

Unless the mountain blinks.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (2, Informative)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504472)

The Ballistic Recovery System. A fine idea, but heavy. For a Cessna 172 (2700 pounds max weight), it's 79 pounds, which is 13 gallons of fuel, or about 180 miles farther you can fly. The smaller version for 500-ish pound ultralights is 18 pounds. I'm not certain that's the best possible way to spend the weight. Of course, if I really want one, I can go to the gym and get at least part of that weight back. :)

See http://www.brsparachutes.com/cessna_182_faq.aspx [brsparachutes.com] for details on what is certainly a fascinating piece of tech.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504774)

For a Cessna 172...

Excellent point. I was surprised by the specs for a new 172 with a payload rating of 450 to 725 pounds depending on the range you need. If you actually try to fill all 4 seats or carry luggage there is not much spare capacity for anything else.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

ptbarnett (159784) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505436)

If you actually try to fill all 4 seats or carry luggage there is not much spare capacity for anything else.

You can fill the tanks, or you can fill the seats (with adults).

You can't do both at the same time, and stay under the gross weight limit.

[I used to own a 172, although without the ballistic recovery system]

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505454)

Scary is watching someone take off fully loaded (fuel, people, luggage) and barely make it off the ground before terrain.

Re:While I congratulate the designers... (2, Informative)

pookemon (909195) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505358)

The Cri-Cri has been around since it's maiden flight in 1973. To date there have been Internal Combustion and Jet (Google cricri jet) versions created. This is just the next step in the Cri-Cri's evolution.

More information [flight.cz]

As has been pointed out by others, most small aircraft (especially the aluminium ones) are just the pilot wrapped in tin foil. They are ALL designed to be light - not crashable.

QOTD (3, Funny)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503890)

"Obviously once the pilot is removed payload increases dramatically"

At first glance I thought they were going to complete the conjunction by saying "and the plane cannot fly." But Cpt. Obvious reminded me that UAV is the new aviation buzzword (trend?).

Re:QOTD (1)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504096)

Brain usage would help.
We live in the year 2010. Ever heard of a remote control?

UAV= unmanned aerial vehicle.

Re:QOTD (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504466)

This plane is smaller than a few of the largest [youtube.com] RC planes out there. Imagine throwing a leg over your RC airplane with controller in hand and taking off! Do you hear me, mythbusters!?

Re:QOTD (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504512)

Its like those amateur railways where the drivers sit on (or barely in) scale model trains.

Re:QOTD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505064)

I think you've underestimated his intelligence. Someone with a lower intelligence will not admit that he'd thought wrongly "at first glance".

Is it twin engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503898)

I can't quite tell from the summary.

Re:Is it twin engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33503930)

The summary is from the wikipedia article about the plane. TFA was written by the submitter, however.

Re:Is it twin engine? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504062)

The summary is from the wikipedia article about the plane. TFA was written by the submitter, however.

okay, but I most certainly am not flying in a plane designed, built, or operated by the author of that article.

Re:Is it twin engine? (1)

fiannaFailMan (702447) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504006)

I can't quite tell from the summary.

4. I can tell from TFA:

The all electric Cri-Cri, jointly developed by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association has made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris on Thursday. This Cri-Cri is the first-ever four-engined all-electric aerobatic plane. The event has been supported by the French Musée de l’Air et de l’Espace.

The plane became airborne at 11:12 CET. Take-off and climb were smooth, no vibrations could be felt and manoeuvrability was excellent. All systems performed well and the plane returned safely after 7 minutes.

“This aircraft flies very smoothly, much more quietly than a plane with conventional propulsion”, said Didier Esteyne, who piloted the all-electric Cri-Cri. “But we are still at the beginning and have a lot to learn. We are allowed to start aerobatic manoeuvres only after five hours of flight and 15 landings.”

“The Cri-Cri is a low-cost test bed for system integration of electrical technologies in support of projects like our hybrid propulsion concept for helicopters,” stated Jean Botti, EADS’s Chief Technical Officer. “We hope to get a lot of useful information out of this project.” In the near future batteries will not able to propel larger aircraft.

The aerobatic plane incorporates numerous innovative technologies such as lightweight composite structures that reduce the weight of the airframe and compensate for the additional weight of the batteries, four brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers which deliver propulsion without CO2 emissions and significantly lower noise compared to thermal propulsion, and high energy-density Lithium batteries.

The combined utilisation of these environment-friendly technical innovations enables the Cri-Cri to deliver novel performance values: 30 minutes of autonomous cruise flight at 110 km/h, 15 minutes of autonomous aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 250 km/h, and a climb rate of approximately 5.3 m/sec.

With research projects on algae based biofuel, a helicopter hybrid propulsion system combining electrical power with piston engines and the all electric Cri-Cri, EADS is exploring technologies for environmentally friendly air travel.

2 != 4 (1)

condition-label-red (657497) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503900)

Hmmm, TFA mentions 4 engines grouped in pairs with counter-rotating props...not 2 engines.

Re:2 != 4 (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33503944)

Who reads the article? The image shows two props, so the correlation is understandable, but not necessarily forgivable.

Re:2 != 4 (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504208)

The image shows two props, so the correlation is understandable, but not necessarily forgivable.

If you look at the image more carefully you can see four props (two pairs of contra-rotating three-blade props).

Re:2 != 4 (1)

cosm (1072588) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504248)

The image shows two props, so the correlation is understandable, but not necessarily forgivable.

If you look at the image more carefully you can see four props (two pairs of contra-rotating three-blade props).

Observational skills severely lacking. No wonder outsourcing is so prevalent!

Reminds me of a Peel P50 (2, Funny)

kolbe (320366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504028)

Next thing you know, someone will be dragging this into a parking space at work, raving about the ecological benefits, and simultaneously getting denied both life and medical insurance!

Well yea... (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504042)

If it didn't fly you couldn't really call it a plane now could you?

Re:Well yea... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504406)

Yes, but not a successful one.

Re:Well yea... (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505602)

Depends. Does it scrape off small bits of wood to make a smooth and level surface? Does it incline to allow one to move a weight to a higher level with less energy? ;-)

Re:Well yea... (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506352)

Or does it simply conform to the equation a*x + b*y + c*z = d? ;)

Copy and paste summary (4, Informative)

Snowblindeye (1085701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504132)

The Cri-cri (short for cricket) is the smallest twin-engined manned aircraft in the world, designed in the early 1970s by French aeronautical engineer Michel Colomban, the Cri-cri aircraft is the world's smallest twin-engine .

At first I thought the writer of the summary had simply messed up when editing and repeated the same thing twice. But when you check wikipedia, it has the same mistake, even down to the space in front of the period: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Colomban_Cri-cri&oldid=383417426 [wikipedia.org]

At least when you copy and paste verbatim from wikipedia, read the sentence and see if it makes sense.

Re:Copy and paste summary (1)

bsharp8256 (1372285) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504328)

Brought to you by the Redundancy Department of Redundancy, this message is brought to you.

Re:Copy and paste summary (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505108)

Since this is Slashdot, I better be pedantic.

You meant the space behind the period, not in front.

Cri-cri short for Cricket? (2, Insightful)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504180)

Someone has an odd idea of 'short'.

Re:Cri-cri short for Cricket? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504418)

Thank you.

Re:Cri-cri short for Cricket? (1)

bfremon (1128877) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506656)

Cri-cri is a common nickname in french.

Video on Youtube found of Electric Cri-Cri (4, Informative)

telomerewhythere (1493937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504188)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrbgcIOaDpw [youtube.com]
Here is a video of this Cri-cri.
Angle of attack seems high, and the landing looked a little rough.

Re:Video on Youtube found of Electric Cri-Cri (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505314)

Is it from France or was that just a French news report? If it's from France, when you land are you suppose to surrender immediately?

Re:Video on Youtube found of Electric Cri-Cri (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505340)

Is it from France or was that just a French news report? If it's from France, when you land are you suppose to surrender immediately?

what a faggot joke, faggot :V

Re:Video on Youtube found of Electric Cri-Cri (1)

o'reor (581921) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506292)

Is it from France or was that just a French news report? If it's from France, when you land are you suppose to surrender immediately?

Who else but an Anonymous Coward could bravely offense an entire nation with that tired, old, lame joke ? ;-)

30 minutes of flight! (2, Funny)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504326)

FTFA:
"The combined utilisation of these environment-friendly technical innovations enables the Cri-Cri to deliver novel performance values: 30 minutes of autonomous cruise flight at 110 km/h, 15 minutes of autonomous aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 250 km/h, and a climb rate of approximately 5.3 m/sec."

30 minutes of flight as a UAV! Sounds like those little rc helicopters from walmart

Re:30 minutes of flight! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506390)

I know you're joking, but people seem to be using 'autonomy' as a way of meaning "range without refuelling" or "operation time without refuelling" these days, without any implication of being autonomous in the robotics sense. Anyone know why? It seems to be an European thing.

30 minutes? (5, Interesting)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504380)

I'll have to go read up on my copy of FAR/AIM, but a 30 minute cruise... for anything other than a developer-owned experimental, I'm not 100% sure that would even be legal for sale, even as a kit. It would certainly never make IFR, as that has a next-airport-plus 45-minute reserve hard requirement (FAR 91.167) regardless of commercial-vs-experimental status. Yes, I know, it's a development vehicle, not intended for sale. A little ways to go.

Climb is 1000 feet per minute. That would be under full power, which aerobatics would also almost certainly be under. So assuming you want a good 5000 feet of "oops" between you and a dirt-nap, that's 5 minutes burned in climb, leaving 10 minutes of playtime (they mention 15 minutes of "aerobatics power"), assuming you're fine with a glide home. Any retired Komet pilots or BD5-J jockeys out there want to give this one a shot? :) That being said, I'd have no hesitation to fly an all-electric as long as it has been demonstrated to have a good 5000-hour MTBF and 4 hours plus IFR reserve in real-world at-altitude conditions.

It's an interesting development on a path to all-electric or hybrid manned flight, certainly a milestone to be proud of, but I'll stick with a 172 until my RV10 is finished...

Re:30 minutes? (2, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504520)

This electric power plant would be great on a motor glider.

Re:30 minutes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504628)

IFR WTF? This plane is ultralight class.

Re:30 minutes? (1)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505904)

It depends how it's used. A paraglider doesn't have the capability to stay airborn to nearest airport + 45 minutes.

Some tiny planes have stall-speeds so low they can land on any random flat patch of ground, and with a speed low enough that even if you where to crash at landing-speed, you'd have excellent chances of walking away unharmed.

If you're 5 meters wide (including wings) and can land at 45mph, there's -plenty- of landing-spots around, in most areas.

But on the other hand... a good use: (4, Interesting)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504414)

...motorized self-launching glider. That's an application for which 30-ish minutes of power would be just fine, and an electric motor plus NiCad pack of batteries may well beat out a gas motor plus fuel on weight. Additionally, there would likely be greater reliability for a high-altitude restart. Make it sexy like a Stemme S10 and you're in business!

Re:But on the other hand... a good use: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33504516)

Yeah I agree, powered glider would be a great application. This little plane looks like a lot of fun though and a cheap way to fly circuits.

Re:But on the other hand... a good use: (1)

muecksteiner (102093) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506136)

Done: enter the Antares [lange-flugzeugbau.de] of Lange Flugzeugbau, Germany

And in that case, the electric system is actually mounted in a proper glider - in terms of gliding performance, the Antares is currently one of the hottest ships that money can buy. This is the rig that most glider pilots drool over these days... EASA certified, and ready for ordering. It's been in production for some years, actually. The only thing you have to worry about with such a rig is your electricity bill... :-)

Cri-Cri (1)

nicodoggie (1228876) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504438)

or death by Cri-Cri??

An Accomplishment? (2, Funny)

schlameel (1017070) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504462)

I thought it was hard to build large, useful electric vehicles. It turns out the real innovation is in small, impractical ones. Well done fellas.

Re:An Accomplishment? (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506438)

Why must you conflate 'large' and 'useful'? If you want a flat-bed truck, obviously a motorbike isn't useful to you, but it is certainly useful to many others. Likewise, your flat-bed truck is useless to me but I don't discount its suitability for some tasks.

Short for Cricket? (2, Funny)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504580)

How is Cri-Cri short for Cricket? They're both two syllables and both 7 characters long ...

Apparently the engineer, Michel Colomban, no longer sells the plans for this craft. Probably because he's involved in a defense contract through EADS.

Re:Short for Cricket? (2, Informative)

thygrrr (765730) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505288)

It's actually not, Cricket was the name the Canadians gave it when they sold the kits for the plane, Cri-Cri was the designer's daughter's nickname!

Not the smallest (4, Informative)

gurps_npc (621217) | more than 3 years ago | (#33504744)

Not by far. There are ultralight planes and some come with electric engines If you actually read the article as opposed to the incorrect summary posted, you see no claims for smallness. It is just the first ever FOUR engine all electric plane. The only important thing here was the 4 electric engines, not size.

Re:Not the smallest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505292)

But it is the "Oompa-Loompa"-ist! Come on, add some brown to the wing tips and tint the glass orange and you've got Oompa-Loompa Airlines!

See for yourself => http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APj2ArUy6v4

nBigga (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505084)

brilliant pl4n study. [rice.edu] much as Windows Tossers, went out it will be among

How is this? (1)

scribblej (195445) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505182)

How is cri-cri, which is the same number of characters and syllables but harder to say, short for "cricket?" This makes no sense.

Re:How is this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505408)

Well, there's this mexican musician who wrote songs for kids, named Cri-cri [wikipedia.org] ("El grillito cantor", "The singing little cricket"). Maybe the name of the plane has a relationship with him.

It's an iPlane (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505368)

No engine. Less space than a Cessna. Lame.

Reminded me of the BD-5 (1)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505730)

This is pretty cool, but I couldn't help being reminded of Jim Bede's BD-5, which as a kid I thought was THE coolest thing ever. Ultimately it was jet powered and looked awesome. Here's a couple of links:

Richard Bach in a BD-5 [bd5.com]
The BD-5 and other Jim Bede creations [bd5.com]

I believe the BD-5 made an appearance in a James Bond film.

Re:Reminded me of the BD-5 (1)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506234)

I believe the BD-5 made an appearance in a James Bond film.

Yes it did in Octopussy.

Re:Reminded me of the BD-5 (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506420)

There has also been a jet powered Cri-Cri, powered by two turbines as used by RC modellers. (The cheapest twinjet time on the planet).

Re:Reminded me of the BD-5 (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506448)

Yeah, I'd take a BD-5 over one of these. The dual nose-stalk-things for the engines on the Cri-cri look lame, and the BD-5 is I believe more aerobatic.

Re:Reminded me of the BD-5 (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506634)

The BD-5 will also probably kill you (especially the 5J which is a total death trap).

The Cri Cri is a bit more benign.

Re:Reminded me of the BD-5 (2, Informative)

wjsteele (255130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506872)

Actually, the BD-5A had the horrible wings. Since then, the design has been modifed to have a standard GAW wing airfoil, which is quite benign. It's lowered the stall speed from 105 down to 74. There is even a retrofit, called the Ribblett Reprofile, that allows the original wings to be modifed with the new airfoil. There has only been one recent fatal crash of a BD-5, which was back in 2006, and it was simply becuase the pilot forgot to connect the flaps correctly after they reassembled the plane, when he engaged the flaps on short final, only one flap extended, causing the aircraft to roll over. Bill

I want an airbike. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33505742)

I want one where you lie down on your front, get all strapped in with cushy stuff, put your arms out into the wings, and pedal for dear life... charge the main battery up, then take a little rest.. and start pedaling like mad again while the battery discharges into the motors for takeoff..

Faster = Longer range? (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#33505764)

If you go by the article the range of the aircraft at 110km/h is 55 kms but at 250km the range is 62.5km. How can an aircraft go faster, with the increasing drag proportional to the square of the speed, go farther? Would it not take more energy to overcome the drag and therefore decrease the range?

Re:Faster = Longer range? (1)

ThreeGigs (239452) | more than 3 years ago | (#33506450)

FTA: "15 minutes of autonomous aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 250 km/h"

Note the 'up to' part, which I assume would be max speed in a powered dive, much slower climbing back up.
And 62.5km range in a powered dive puts you somewhere south of Moho, at which point you'll be having bigger concerns :-)

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