Here are some pictures just in of the diminutive Cri-Cri on the ground and in the air during its first flight in France today... Original story below.
EADS says its all-electric, four-propeller Cri-Cri composite single has achieved first flight at Le Bourget airport near Paris on today.
Built by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association, the low-wing technology testbed was unveiled as the Green Aviation Show at Le Bourget in June.
"Take-off and climb were smooth, no vibrations could be felt and manoeuvrability was excellent," says EADS in a press release. "All systems performed well and the plane returned safely after 7 minutes."
The electric aircraft is designed for 30 minutes of autonomous cruise flight at 68mph, 15 minutes of autonomous aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 155mph and a climb rate of approximately 1,000fpm.
"We are allowed to start aerobatic manoeuvres only after five hours of flight and 15 landings, says test pilot Didier Esteyne. "But we are still at the beginning and have a lot to learn.
EADS says it hopes to "get a lot of useful information out of this project" for powered larger aircraft with batteries in the future. The Cri-Cri is based on a French home built design.
"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," says the company.