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PHOTO CAPTION: University of Madrid test plane with emergency e-motor.

Madrid University Develops Emergency E-Motor for Light Planes

A small 30kW electric motor retrofit to existing light aircraft could mean the difference between life and death in the event of engine failure.

Published: 17-Jun-2015

Between the United States and Europe there are an average of 600 airplane accidents annually, costing some 70 human lives and an estimated $27USD million in economic losses. Some of those tragedies could be averterd if the aircraft had an emergency motor that could help the pilot land safely under power.

That's what researchers at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) have developed: a small 30kW (40 hp) electric motor that fits into the nose of a general aviation light aircraft, as illustrated from the video screen capture below. The system is designed for light planes weighing less than 1,650 lbs (750kg). The unspecified battery system that powers the motor is said to be able to provide an additional 20 km (12 miles) of range in the event of a loss of main engine power.

30kW electric emergency motor for light aircraft

According to Daniel Cristobal from AXTER Aerospace, which is collaborating on the program, "We maximize the capacity of the battery in generating movement with the electric engine, and we have found that we can also use the system as a hybrid for light aircraft: the pilot can activate it when she wants, adding up to 40 horsepower for take-offs or whatever is needed." In hybrid mode, it can also improve overall fuel economy.

The UC3M and AXTER Aerospace team believe their system can be retrofit to similar light aircraft including UAVs and gyrocopters, reports Gizmag.com.

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