Aerobatic Cri-Cri plane completes initial flight

1 min read

A four-engine all-electric aerobatic plane made its official maiden flight at Le Bourget airport today.

The Cri-Cri aircraft, developed jointly by EADS Innovation Works, Aero Composites Saintonge and the Green Cri-Cri Association, took off at 11:12am CET for a seven-minute flight.

According to EADS, take-off and climb were smooth, no vibrations could be felt and manoeuvrability was described as ‘excellent’.

‘This aircraft flies very smoothly, much more quietly than a plane with conventional propulsion,’ said pilot Didier Esteyne. ‘But we are still at the beginning and have a lot to learn. We are allowed to start aerobatic manoeuvres only after five hours of flight and 15 landings.’

‘The Cri-Cri is a low-cost test bed for system integration of electrical technologies in support of projects such as our hybrid propulsion concept for helicopters,’ added Jean Botti, chief technical officer, EADS. ‘We hope to get a lot of useful information out of this project.’

The aerobatic plane incorporates lightweight composite structures that reduce the weight of the airframe and compensate for the additional weight of the batteries, four brushless electric motors with counter-rotating propellers and high-energy-density Lithium batteries.

Cri-Cri’s capabilities:

30 minutes of autonomous cruise flight at 110kmh

15 minutes of autonomous aerobatics at speeds reaching up to 250kmh

Climb rate of approximately 5.3m/sec

Source: EADS