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Wed, Nov 09, 2022

EAA Chapter Building Electric MotorGlider

Volunteers, High School Students, and Airports Personnel Come Together for Affordable, Sustainable eXeno Kit

A Kitsap, Washington EAA chapter has been hard at work with Central Kitsap High School students in their efforts to build a 2-seat, electric, all-aluminum motor glider at Bremerton National Airport. 

The effort has brought many together as the chapter follows a core EAA mission to bring aviation into reach for young people. An educational center on the field, the Bremerton Aviation Center for Education (BACE), has become the core of the effort, with assistance from EAA builders, volunteers, students, and family to create an all-electric aircraft.

BACE selected the Sonex Xenos, deciding to follow the footsteps of Gabriel DeVault's all-electric "eXeno". His pioneering work saw the versatile Xenos married to a ZeroAvia drivetrain, lifted directly from Zero Motorcycles' 'excellent EV powertrain", in DeVault's words. The former Zero R&D engineer said that the ZeroAvia drivetrain should be good for thousands of cycles and a decade of regular service, a result of more than 14 years of EV development. Bremerton Airport personnel have begun prepping the field for the upcoming aircraft, readying a pair of 220V charging points on the apron that should allow the aircraft to fully charge in 2 hours, providing about 1 hour of operational flight once full. That affordability is hard to beat with traditional, 100LL and mogas-powered aircraft, allowing pilots to swap fuel costs for the rate of electricity. Bremerton management is taking the investment seriously, reporting that the pair of Level 2 electric charging stations will run about $150,000 to install at the airport. 

The completed aircraft will be a first for an EAA chapter completing an all-electric aircraft, as well as the first like it on its home field at Bremerton. As far as costs go, BACE has reportedly spent somewhere in the neighborhood of $35,000 on the kit, the instruments, and sundry equipment, helped by gracious donors and friends of the project. Instrumental in overseeing the build has been one of the fabricators assisting on the first eXeno aircraft, retired Boeing exec and BACE co-founder Mike Friend. So far, the team has completed about half the aircraft, with the rest expected to be completed by next fall.  

"We're not exactly at the same stage the Wright brothers were at in 1903. It's a little more advanced than that, but it's the same sort of situation where we're just at the very beginning of being able to realize how to build airplanes and power them with electric power," Friend told local Kitsap reporters. 

FMI: https://chapters.eaa.org/eaa406, https://www.facebook.com/OlympicRainbirds/

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