Aircraft without fuel: Ukrainian electro plane Aeroprakt 20e

On February 6, a historic event took place in the aviation of Ukraine – the Aeroprakt 20e electric aircraft was tested for the first time. This is the first Ukrainian electric aircraft designed by Yuri Vladimirovich Yakovlev, Ukrainian aircraft builder, aircraft designer and founder of Aeroprakt. Based on the materials by DEV.UA

On February 6, a historic event took place in the aviation of Ukraine – the Aeroprakt 20e electric aircraft was tested for the first time. This is the first Ukrainian electric aircraft designed by Yuri Vladimirovich Yakovlev, Ukrainian aircraft builder, designer, and founder of Aeroprakt. The main compan’s activity is the development and serial production of ultralight aircraft of various modifications. The company mass-produces light aircraft A-22LS and A-32.

Yuri Yakovlev, a Ukrainian aircraft designer of Russian origin, was himself at the helm while testing the first Ukrainian electric aircraft of his design.

Yuri Vladimirovich Yakovlev, aircraft designer, creator of the Aeroprakt 20e aircraft, founder of the Aeroprakt company (Screen from Plane Ukraine report)

Currently, there is only one serial electric aircraft in the world, which is being developed by the Slovenian company Pipistrel. It is used as a training and certification passed in June 2020. He has a flight time of about 50 minutes.

In 1991, an aircraft of this Aeroprakt 20 model flew for the first time. At that time, a two-stroke ROTAX engine was installed there. And it was Aeroprakt’s first production aircraft.

Aeroprakt 20e – the same model, only electric. The ROTAX engine was replaced with an electrical installation. Before that, the same installation was installed on the Aeroprakt-8 Quickie, the first aircraft created in 1984 by Yuri Yakovlev, and which the designer later wanted to make electric. A single-seat Quickie with a tandem wing arrangement brought the aircraft designer to Kyiv in 2015, when they tried to cut the plane into sections in Russia to create a sample for one of the universities. The aircraft designer says that he received documents for this model and made several flights.

Aeroprakt-8e Quickie at the VI KharkivAviaFest in Korotichi in August 2021 (Photo by aeroclub.net.ua)

But then I decided that I should experiment on a car that has a lower flight speed (Aeroprakt 20e). If there is a forced landing, it will be much easier. Moreover, even if the aircraft is damaged during a forced landing, it is not so difficult to restore it, because we have everything for this at the company. And Aeroprakt-8 is very expensive, and God forbid damage it

Yuri Yakovlev

Aeroprakt 20e is an ultralight aircraft with a fiberglass body. This model has a non-standard, as for Aeroprakt aircraft, tandem landing, when one person sits next to the other, and not next to each other.

This reduces air resistance and energy consumption. Now in this model, batteries are in place of the second person. Aircraft with tailwheel and pusher propeller.

Aeroprakt 20e (Screen from Plane Ukraine report)

Among other features – a very large, as for such an aircraft, wing area, and flaperons, which perform the function of flaps and ailerons. Flaperons run the entire length of the wing, which increases the efficiency of control.

The aircraft has a T-tail design, with the horizontal stabilizer at the top of the vertical stabilizer. In this case, the oncoming airflow from the pusher propeller immediately hits the vertical and, accordingly, the horizontal stabilizer, increasing the efficiency of control.

The car has a German engine, about 27-30 centimeters in diameter, controllers, and batteries, all from the same company Geiger Electronics.

The aircraft designer replaced the software on electrical appliances to increase engine power and remove some restrictions.

Behind the pilot, there are large batteries of 15 kg and 8 kg each in the passenger seat, and the entire electrical system is quite heavy. The German manufacturer declares ten-kilowatt electric batteries for 45 minutes of flight if the power does not exceed 10 kW.

Aeroprakt 20e (Screen from Plane Ukraine report)

During the test flight, Yakovlev gained 200 meters of altitude, reduced power and made several circles. Then he lowered the altitude to 100 meters, and tried the takeoff mode, went in for a touchdown landing and took off again and gained altitude. Then he descended and landed the plane.

All this took 29 minutes. As a result of the flight, the aircraft had 36% of the battery charge left, but during this time its temperature rose to 54 degrees Celsius out of 59 limit. This was influenced by the two climbs that the pilot made, and this raises the power and, accordingly, the temperature of the battery. Immediately after takeoff, the temperature of the battery was 25-27 degrees.

According to the results of the test, it is already clear that the aircraft lacks a cooling system for batteries and engine power. Moreover, before charging the batteries, they must be cooled. Aeroprakt 20e does not yet provide additional cooling. It can be either purge channels in the case, or a water cooling system.

Yuri Yakovlev (Screen from Plane Ukraine report)

Yakovlev said that he would still conduct a detailed analysis of the results of the test flight. All the improvements, as he says: “We will probably put it on the Aeroprakt 32 model, then it can be a car for sales.” But he clarified that approximately it will be in a few years.

In addition, he believes that now the models of electric aircraft are still experiments, not counting the model of the Pipistrel company.

Electrics in aviation will be when most cars on the roads will be electric.

Yuri Yakovlev

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