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