Electric Plane Sets Speed Record At More Than 200 Miles Per Hour

Chip YatesChip Yates after his record setting flight.

Photo: Flight of the Century

On July 19, 2012 test pilot Chip Yates conducted the second flight of the Flight of the Century all electric Long-EZ (aka Long-ESA) attempt at a speed record in the skies over Inyokern Airport California. The 16-minute flight concluded when the aircraft lost power and Yates was forced to perform a dead-stick landing. Though the flight had a nail biting ending, the electric plane reached speeds of more than 200 miles per hour, setting a new record.

Yates earned his private pilots licence in just two months, the same two months that he and fabrication guru Chris Parker designed and built the world’s most powerful electric aeroplane. Yates had just 58 flight hours logged at the time of the record breaking 202.6 miles per hour flight. 

The Long-EZ is a modified version of a plane designed by aviation god Burt Rutan, with a front canard design that makes it highly aerodynamically efficient, Popular Science said.

During the flight, Yates was was confronted with a complete loss of power following the run, and his first deadstick landing, barely making it to the runway! There is motor noise from the prop windmilling but no forward drive, which necessitated a forced landing!

First, here's the heart-pounding video of his flight.

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