Fiedrichshafen – records in aviation once garnered headlines worldwide. The first human flight, the first motorized flight, or the first moon landing are still remembered today. Charles Lindbergh, who in 1927 became the first person to dare to make a solo flight across the Atlantic, is also familiar to any aviation fan.
Now there is a real challenge in aviation again: electric flight. When an electric car runs out of juice, it’s annoying. If this happens to an electric plane, it’s dangerous. Still, electric flight may be on the verge of a breakthrough. Almost every aircraft manufacturer is working on this topic. Some manufacturers have plans to launch market-ready electric-powered aircraft in the near future.
At the AERO in Friedrichshafen (April 1 to 4, 2020), corresponding prototypes have been exhibited for several years as part of the e-flight expo. Now it’s time for the planes to show what they can do at the first Lindbergh e-flight rally on March 30 and 31, 2020. “Here, the name Lindbergh stands not only symbolically for the pioneering idea of the rally, but also for the cooperation between AERO Friedrichshafen and the Lindbergh Foundation, which has set itself the goal of making sustainable flight with battery power series-capable,” says Head of Aero Roland Bosch.
Two days before the start of AERO 2020, electric aircraft will take off for the first time for a spectacular rally that follows on from the successful UL rallies in the mid-1980s, which helped ultralight aircraft make their breakthrough at the time. Like the first ultralight aircraft did then, the first electric aircraft today need to prove that they already function perfectly.
The flight route leads along Lake Constance, and past castles, palaces, and churches, to a first stopover at Regio Airport Mengen, which was recently awarded a contract by the state of Baden-Württemberg for the construction of a test platform for electric flight/autonomous flying. Corresponding turning points along the route must be documented photographically, with the photo files viewed by the judge after landing. In Mengen, the aircraft batteries can be charged or exchanged as required. After refueling, the rally heads off to its second landing site at the Bad Waldsee-Reute glider airfield, where the first day of competition ends.
On the second day of the competition, a shorter route will be flown without a stopover. The destination is Friedrichshafen Airport. The arrival is scheduled so that the first aircraft will arrive around 11 a.m., just on time for the AERO press conference. After landing, the actual energy consumption of the aircraft is measured directly by reloading or refueling and added to the evaluation.
A prize is awarded in each of three classes: trikes, three-axle, and hybrid aircraft. Every day during the exhibition, a television escort team will capture impressions of the first Lindbergh e-flight rally, which will be shown on a large screen. Manufacturers of electric aircraft have received requests from visitors, underscoring the importance of this first worldwide rally for electric aircraft. The plan is to increase the scope every year.
Further information, the registration form, and the conditions for the competition can be downloaded as PDFs directly from the AERO website www.aero-expo.com. Series aircraft and exhibitor prototypes are eligible to participate. The latest closing date for entries is January 31, 2020.
The AERO will take place from Wednesday, April 1 to Saturday, April 4, 2020, in Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance and is open from Wednesday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.