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Sat, May 17, 2008

Re-engined Electric-Powered Moni Makes First Flight

Little Noise, No Pollution... And No High Gas Prices!

At AirVenture 2007, Randall Fishman took a coveted Grand Champion 'Lindy' and Ultralight Innovation awards for his rechargeable, battery powered ultralight. A stack of rechargeable lithium batteries, a hand-wound motor and clever packaging powered Randall around the patch at Oshkosh to cop small aviation's most prestigious prize for technical elegance.

Fast forward six months. Fishman showed up at January's Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, FL with a more practical aircraft. He adapted his motor and battery package to fit into a 1980's vintage Moni motorglider, with electrical power replacing the Moni's noisy, fume-belching two-stroke engine.

On Wednesday, May 14, the re-powered Moni rose into the air for the first time. Since Fishman is a hang glider guy -- and never got a license to fly a 'real' airplane -- first flight chores were left to veteran glider instructor, Joe Bennis.

Fishman tells ANN the aircraft lifted gently into the air into a light breeze that blew straight down the runway. From the start, one thing seemed odd -- the aircraft was virtually silent. A purring sound emanated from the propeller, but there was no nasty engine bark to call attention to the little craft.

Two laps around the pattern, and the deal was sealed. The little white bird climbed out smartly and flew without any surprises. That's the very best thing that can happen on a first flight.

More details will be forthcoming when Fishamn has had enough instruction to solo as a student pilot. However, he notes, some things are already known. The battery and motor combination generate 60% more thrust than the "wretched little two-stroke" they replace.

Aside from utility smokestack pollution, the aircraft puts no new toxins into the air. There is no change in the Moni's weight and balance with the electric motor package.

Fishman says battery operation will permit over an hour of powered flight. With the switch turned off, the aircraft can soar thermals and ridges as it was designed... and when lift is strong enough, or when a bit of aerobraking is needed to lose altitude, the propeller can generate power on the way down to charge the batteries.

The inventor also notes density altitude will never affect motor performance... nor will high prices at the gas pumps.

FMI: www.electraflyer.com, See More Of The Electric-Powered Moni!

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