LENGTH: 23 feet, 10 inches
WINGSPAN: 75 feet
HEIGHT: 8 feet, 1 inch (to prop tip); 5 feet, 5
inches (to top of cowling)
EMPTY WEIGHT: 2,348 pounds ( 1,036 pounds
MAXIMUM TAKEOFF WEIGHT: 3,307 pounds
BATTERY CAPACITY: Undisclosed (race secret)
CRUISE SPEED: 100 mph ( 87 knots)
MAX SPEED: Undisclosed
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.Pipistrel.si
AQUICK LOOK at the Pipistrel Taurus G4 and you might think you’re seeing double—because you are. The latest electric aircraft from the Slovenian aircraft
manufacturer was created by combining two Taurus G2 fuselages, connected by a 5-meter-long spar.
A 145-k W brushless electric motor is mounted between
the passenger pods and drives a 2-meter-diameter, two-blade propeller in tractor configuration. While seated in one
of the compartments you cannot see people on the other
side—only the opposite landing gear, causing our team to
jokingly decide it’s the Class of 2011’s Best Aircraft for a Divorced Couple. The aircraft is flyable from all four seats.
“The Taurus G4 is a technology demonstrator,” said Tine
Tomazic, Pipistrel development engineer and the test pilot
who will fly the aircraft. “It is the first-ever electric four-place aircraft, the most powerful electric aircraft with most
battery capacity on board.” Tomazic also claimed the Taurus
G4 is the electric aircraft with the most endurance, other
than the Solar Impulse.
Tomazic declined to disclose just what that battery capacity is (GFC race secret), nor did he disclose the aircraft’s
“very high glide ratio” other than to say it’s more than 30 at
its cruise speed of 100 mph. These and other aircraft details
will be released after the GFC.
BEST AIRCRAFT FOR
A DIVORCED COUPLE
Pipistrel aircraft have done very well in previous efficiency competitions, including the 2007 CAFE/NASA Personal
Air Vehicle (PAV) Challenge and the 2008 CAFE/NASA General
Aviation Technology Challenge. Given the company’s track
record, there are expectations the Taurus G4 will deliver.
At the time of writing, it was in the process of completing
ground tests in the United States with a first flight expected
in June or July.
MOST LIKELY TO BE
SEEN IN THE NEXT
STAR WARS MOVIE
AIRCRAFT SPECS WERE NOT
AVAILABLE AT PRESS TIME.
IKE AEROSPACE’S entry in the Green Flight Challenge is definitely an eye catcher.
With its sleek lines and a futuristic
design, the Seraph is based on
the concept of “biomimicry,” using nature-inspired principles in
aircraft design. The company’s
founder, Richard Ike, calls this a
new field of aviation, terming it
If you’re looking at this design
with a healthy dose of skepticism, you’re not alone. It seems
that it would fall squarely in what Oshkosh veterans term
“dreamers’ corner.” And that’s the reason we feel it’s more
likely the Seraph will be seen in the next Star Wars movie
than it will be seen in the sky. But let’s not forget, there
was a time when the Wright brothers were considered just a
couple of bike mechanics with an outlandish dream.
The Seraph hopes to achieve efficiencies through carbon
fiber construction using an exo-skeletal approach to the
fuselage, fixed-gear integrated into flight stabilizers, and lift
generated by airfoils and vortices through the blended-wing
and lifting body concept.
The single-place, twin-engine hybrid powered aircraft
plans to use a biofuel-to-electric conversion to power the
electric engines. Further efficiencies are expected by mounting the engines inside the wing and using ducted propellers
and even a special coating in the engine wind funnel to
reduce noise. To save even more weight, Ike is proposing to
eliminate the instrument panel, opting for an off-the-shelf
goggle-mounted heads-up display to feed all the necessary
parameters to the pilot. While noted test pilot Dave Morss
is signed on for flight testing, as of this writing we were
unable to confirm if the design has gotten off the drawing
board, much less off the ground. Use the Force, Ike.