Electric Airplane Design Uses Flying Drone Batteries To Boost Range

An electric-vehicle veteran is turning his efforts from two wheels to a pair of wings as he sets his sights on electric-powered airplanes for his latest world record attempts.

But Chip Yates isn’t satisfied with simply flying faster and higher than any previous piloted electric airplane, he is completely reinventing how electric airplanes are thought of with an infinite-range aircraft, or at least one that could fly for a very, very long time. The breakthrough idea uses autonomous flying battery packs that can be released when empty, with charged packs flying to the airplane and docking for use as needed.

Like all electric vehicles, the design challenge is all about range, range, range and range. And battery technology is always the excuse for not being able to dramatically increase distance between charges. Historically, one of the biggest challenges for long-range airplanes has been weight. And heavy batteries don’t make for a good mix of range and light designs. So Yates isn’t waiting for any breakthrough in battery technology, and is instead pushing for a breakthrough of his own in how the batteries are used.

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Source: Wired Top Stories

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