An Italian team has set a new record for emissions-free flight with their completely electric, strangely quiet plane, the SkySpark. The record-attempt on June 12 of 2009 was part of the World Air Games in Turin, with the record homologated by the World Air Sports Federation (FAI).
The SkySpark used Lithium Polymer batteries and a 75–kW engine to break the record for high performance, electrically powered light aircraft. According to a statement, this record-breaking flight is only an intermediate step in the program; the team, led by Maurizio Cheli, a former Space Shuttle pilot, is now planning to focus on the next goal, the hydrogen fuel cell powered aircraft engine.
With the world demand for aircraft transportation expected to increase by 250% by 2020, the Italian team aims to help meet that demand without increasing emissions. Their goal is to build a completely emissions-free plane that will fly for over 300 miles at around 155 miles an hour, which would make it an attractive alternative to conventional planes.
SkySpark [via RedFerret]