Virginia-based aircraft developer Electra has demonstrated the capabilities of its hybrid-electric short take-off and landing aircraft (eSTOL) with a video of an “ultra short” take-off performed with its EL-2 Goldfinch demonstrator. 

Shared on social media on 29 May, the video shows the “blown lift” aircraft taking off in less than 300ft and performing a slow-speed approach. Electra says it has landed at airspeeds as low as 25kt (46km/h). 

The flight featured in the video took place on 16 May. 

Test pilot Cody Allee flew the two-seat demonstrator aircraft at Virginia’s Manassas Regional airport and Warrenton-Fauquier airport throughout April and May. During the campaign, the aircraft took off with as little as 170ft of runway and landed with less than 115ft of ground roll. 

The start-up has long touted its design’s potential to enable take-off and landing in parking lot or football field-sized spaces. 

”We’ve proven that our eSTOL aircraft has the capability to do what we said it could do – operate from spaces shorter than 300ft,” says JP Stewart, Electra’s general manager. “The aircraft handling at low speeds has been exceptional and is matching our analysis well, building confidence in the predicted capability of the nine-passenger product design.” 

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Source: Electra

Electra says its Goldfinch demonstrator reached altitudes as high as 6,500ft during its recent run of test-flights in Virginia

Unveiled during the Paris air show in June last year, the two-seat Goldfinch “is the world’s first blown-lift aircraft using distributed electric propulsion and a hybrid-electric propulsion system”, Electra said at the time. “The aircraft uses eight electric motors to significantly increase wing lift and enable ultra-short take-offs and landings.” 

The company’s flight-test programme will continue to guide the development of its eventual production aircraft. 

”We’ll continue to develop our technologies, including the ’thrust-by-wire’ flight control system to allow us to fly even slower on approach and further improve the STOL take-off and landing performance in the ongoing test campaign,” Stewart says. 

Electra is pushing for its in-development aircraft to clear type certification with the Federal Aviation Administration and begin passenger-carrying operations under Part 23 regulations by 2028.