All-Electric Airplane Reaches 153 knots

The Cri Cri breaks its own speed record.

Cri Cri

Cri Cri

The Cri Cri

An all-electric, twin-motor French airplane known as the MC15E Cri Cri piloted by Hugues Duval recently reached 153 knots, breaking its own speed record for electrically powered airplanes by about 10 knots. While several power plants have been tested on the Cri Cri, the record setting airplane was powered by a pair of 35-horsepower Electravia E-Motor GMPE 104 motors and E-Props propellers designed specifically for speed. Power is stored in two lithium-polymer Kokam batteries — one for each motor — totalling three kilowatt-hours.

Electravia claims the low drag cowl fairings surrounding the electric motors reduce form drag by 46 percent compared with the two-stroke engines that have previously powered the Cri Cri. The company also claims the record breaking flight was conducted using only 75 percent of the motors' 70 available horsepower and that the aircraft could potentially reach speeds up to 194 knots. However, at those speeds, the power is quickly used up. By bringing the power down to fly below 100 knots, the airplane can fly up to 25 nautical miles.

The Cri Cri was designed in the 1970s by French designer Michel Colomban and is most likely the smallest twin airplane in the world. Despite its small size, it is well designed for aerobatic flight.