Chinese 2-seater RX1E, the first electric and eco-friendly plane developed by Shenyang Aerospace University, will go into production next year after receiving the due certification from the Civil Aviation Administration of China by this year end.
“The RX1E is scheduled to receive its airworthiness certificate from the Civil Aviation Administration of China before the end of this year, with production expected to start next year,” Yang Fengtian, an academic at the Chinese Academy of Engineering told China Daily recently, on the sidelines of the Airshow China, in Zhuhai, Guangdong province.
“This will be the first electric aircraft to be certified by our civil aviation authority. The success of the plane means China has become a technology leader in this filed,” he added. Including the set of batteries, it will be sold for 1 million yuan ($163,000).
Two prototypes of the 2-seater plane are put on show at the air show. The plane runs on electric motors, with electricity coming from fuel cells, solar cells, ultracapacitors, power beaming or batteries.
The maximum takeoff weight of the plane is 480 kg and its cruise speed can go up to 160 km per hour. On full-charging, the RX1E can fly for 90 minutes at an altitude of nearly 3,000 meters.
The cost of one hour’s flight will cost only 20 yuan, including 5 yuan for battery charging, according to Song Mingkai, a RX1E designer. The engineers are optimistic that the convenience of use, easy maintenance, low operating costs, high safety levels and eco-friendliness will make the RX1E successful, especially for surveillance purposes such as police patrols, flight training, entertainment and mapping surveys.
“We plan to reach an annual production of 100 such aircraft within three years, and the construction of a manufacturing plant that can make 100 RX1Es each year has begun in Shenyang,” Yang said, adding that the plane, together with a set of batteries, will sell for nearly 1 million yuan ($163,000).
Yang said he expects that the Chinese market will need at least 1,000 RX1Es to meet the demand from general aviation businesses.