Yates, who is best known for his "two wheels good" antics by creating and racing electric superbikes, has now officially upped the ante by building and flying his one-off electric airplane past 5 world records.
Chip Yates poses with his record breaking "Long-ESA"
His SWIGZ.COM electric motorcycle is on display at the Petersen Automotive museum and is known as the worlds most powerful electric superbike. But Yates has set his goal even higher and is preparing to add a non-stop trans-atlantic flight in his electrically powered modified Burt Rutan Long-EZ, name Long-ESA, for "Electric Speed and Altitude"
The original airframe used by Yates is based off the venerable Long-EZ which was designed by Burt Rutan back in the 1970's. You might recognized some of Rutan's creations like the Beech Starship, and SpaceShip One among others. Yates took the canard style composite airframe and added huge batteries and a huge DC brushless motor and can now fly very fast for about 15 minutes. In fact the powerplant is capable of propelling the aircraft to speeds beyond its structural limits and in essence making this vehicle the ultimate hill climb aircraft. Yates was just officially awarded 5 world records from a series of flights late last year including time to climb to 3,000 meter in an electric airplane.
Yates landing dead stick during one of his record breaking runs after he loses power and becomes a glider pilot.
Yate's next lofty goal is creating a custom electric airplane that he intends to fly along Charles Lindbergh's 3,600 mile transatlantic route. He's currently in the testing phases of in-flight aerial re-charging using a nose mounted recharging port while flying in close formation with another aircraft equipped with an onboard battery pack.
Restored and modifies Piper Cherokee will ask as the mid-air recharge plane.
This proof of concept will be the basis for the patented series of 5 unmanned mid-air recharging station to power his flight en route to meet or exceed Lindberg's average speed on his "Flight of the Century" across the Atlantic ocean.
Many of you are probably thinking, "So what? An electric airplane is about as practical as high heals on a hike." And I'd have to agree with you because about the most use you can get out of a battery powered airplane is breaking world records, but with all developing technologies there is the hope of breakthroughs that will pave the way for real advances for practical uses. If anything, I give the guy credit for risking his life to do something new and go really fast.