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China's 1st four-seat electric aircraft makes successful flight

By Wu Yong in Shenyang | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2019-10-29 09:42

China's first four-seat electric aircraft has completed a successful flight in Shenyang Tuesday morning, marking the birth of a new aircraft product and the nation's leading position in electric aircraft development.

The electric plane, named RX4E, was developed by Liaoning General Aviation Research Institute of Shenyang University of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

Zhao Tienan, vice-president of Liaoning General Aviation Research Institute, said the takeoff weight of RX4E is 1,200 kilograms and its endurance time 1.5 hours. Its maximum range reaches 300 kilometers with a cruise speed of 200 kilometers per hour.

"With the development of battery energy storage technology, the flight time and range of RX4E can be further improved," said Zhao.

Public information shows that, as of June, there were about 170 electric aircraft research projects around the world, and that number is expected to reach 200 by the end of the year. Western countries and advanced airlines such as Boeing and Airbus have invested heavily in the development of electric aircraft.

Kang Guiwen, director of the power department of Liaoning General Aviation Research Institute, said the maximum takeoff weight of RX4E is twice the original model because RX4E adopted many innovations in its new electric power system, aerodynamic layout design and new materials.

RX4E is capable of taking off and landing on hard grasslands, hard sand roads and coastal airports. It can be used for short-distance transportation, pilot training, aerial photography, aerial mapping and other fields. The aircraft can be modified as a research and production platform, added Kang.

Zhao said that Liaoning General Aviation Research Institute will take the RX4E aircraft as a platform for further development of seaplanes and hybrid-powered aircraft.

Zhao called on authorities to formulate a long-term development plan for electric aircraft and launch research on electric aviation.


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