02 Aug '13, 8pm

10 Electric Planes to Watch

10 Electric Planes to Watch

The highlight of the plane’s design could have soaring pilots the world over salivating: EuroSport Aircraft says the Crossover can modify its wingspan in flight, from an agile, speed-friendly 9.6 meters to a more efficient, gliding-friendly 15 meters. Wingspan—wing surface, really—affects the wing load, and it’s one of the main factors that influence the handling of an airplane. (The wing load, which is the weight of the aircraft in flight divided by the surface area of its lifting parts, is usually lower in slower, easier-to-fly airplanes and higher in faster, more difficult aircraft.) It’s obviously difficult to change the wing surface in flight, so glider pilots have traditionally used a reverse approach to control it: They increase the weight of the plane by loading water—lots of water—into wing tanks. A racing glider today might load as much as 200 liters of water, br...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/aerospace/aviation/10-electric-p...

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