Al Marsh

Electric helicopter flight achieved

September 8, 2011 by Alton K. Marsh, Senior Editor, AOPA Pilot

There was little said about it, but a French company achieved the first manned electric helicopter flight back on August 12. The flight lasted a little more than two minutes and achieved a height of three feet. The battery technology just isn’t there yet to make electric helicopter flight practical. The specially designed one-seat, twin-rotor helicopter used dangerous Lithium ion polymer pouch cells that would have erupted in flames had the helicopter crashed. It was designed, built, and flown by French enginer Pascal Cretien, who was sponsored by a French company, Solution F. Sikorsky Innovations plans to fly its electric Firefly helicopter soon, and then put it on the shelf to wait for battery technology to improve.

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