Behind the scenes at AERO

April 7, 2010 by Craig Fuller

Coming to a major aviation event is always a thrill. On Wednesday I arrived at AERO Friedrichshafen, Europe’s biggest general aviation show, and got to take part in a behind-the-scenes tour before the crowds arrived for the next day’s opening. It was a great chance to take in the huge variety of aircraft on offer and learn a little more about some of the innovations taking place in Europe and around the world.

Just one of the many helicopters on display at AERO Friedrichshafen.

Just one of the many helicopters on display at AERO Friedrichshafen.

The first stop on my tour was helicopters, where I was impressed with the number of different aircraft on offer and the many missions they were designed to fly–from personal transport to rescue to industrial use.

A few minutes later we got to see an all-electric airplane now in flight testing. It looks to be among the first of a crop of new planes to be powered solely by electric engines. This one, the Yuneec E430, is made in China, boasts a 54 horsepower motor, and up two hours of powered flight time with two on board–that’s plenty since it’s a motorglider and spends much of its in-flight time powered down. The company hopes to reach full-scale production next year and has put a price tag of $90,000 on its plane.

The Yuneec E430 is an all-electric powered motorglider now in flight tests.

The Yuneec E430 is an all-electric powered motorglider now in flight tests.

While the E430 has been flying since last year, there’s plenty of competition close on its heels and we expect to see several other all-electric aircraft at the show, including the Elektra One from Germany’s PC Aero.

Of course, while we were looking at the great new products on offer, we had a little housekeeping of our own to do. It’s amazing to watch a convention hall come to life and transform, in a matter of hours, from a cavernous, empty space, to a virtual shopping mall of aviation. Our own booth was not quite ready to go when I stopped by and took this picture.

I’ll have much more to report tomorrow when things get going in earnest, so stay tuned.

AOPA's booth is not quite ready for prime time.

AOPA's booth comes to life in the exhibit hall.

One Response to “Behind the scenes at AERO”

  1. GatorRob Says:

    Most excellent article: I am hoping that as people read the article they also think of training for new pilots. If you can help send a pilot to an academy or sponsor…check out http://www.fundapilot.com
    Team approach is 1$ per person and send this guy to commercial aviation..he is a veteran

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