Maiden flight with the SZD electric propulsion system
At 14:29 on the 27th September, 2023 the SZD-55-2 NEXUS-e-motion sailplane takes off from the EDQG Giebelstadt airfield on the tow rope of a Pipistrel Virus for its maiden flight. The prototype is equipped with the new Allstar-emotion - electric sustainer system by Allstar PZL Glider.
The glider is towed to an altitude of 1000 metres, releases and begins cruising at a constant altitude with the propeller rotating. A few minutes later, climbing at high power setting is successfully tested.
Dr. Elias Breunig, the chief developer of the electric drive Allstar-e-motion, had the unique opportunity to also act as a test pilot for the test flights, thereby gaining valuable insights into the systems performance and behavior while flying.
This marks a significant milestone in the development project. The propulsion system was already able to demonstrate its performance in terms of efficiency and climb rate during the first flight. Now the comprehensive flight test programme and further certification tests are taking place in the air and on the ground. The project is supervised by the European Aviation Safty Agency (EASA) through the German Federal Aviation Authority (LBA) in Braunschweig.
Preparing for the first tow launch on the runway of the Giebelstadt EDQG airfield.
The development of this new electric propulsion system was initiated by Allstar PZL Glider in collaboration with Breunig Aerospace. The team headed by Dr. Elias Breunig, proprietor of the aerospace engineering company, developed the electric drive train, which includes a battery module, a foldable propeller system, and control electronics in the cockpit. Another partner in this collaboration is the Zimmermann engineering office, contributing the motor controllers. The electric motor in the nose of the aircraft is supplied by the Slovenian firm EMRAX.
Approaching Touchdown in the SZD-55-2 NEXUS after the successful test flight of the electric propulsion system.
The ground crew gathers around the prototype to discuss the first results and impressions.
As part of the project, Allstar PZL Glider has modernised the proven standard class glider SZD-55-1 NEXUS with improved ailerons and winglets, among other things.
Parallel to the certification and series introduction of the new aircraft, work is also underway to retrofit the Allstar-e-motion electric propulsion system to existing SZD-55-1s.
After towing the aircraft to an altitude of 1000 metres, the flight is continued with the electric propulsion system.
Further testing steps of the electric drive are discussed next to the open cockpit.
photos by Johannes Lutz and Constanze Hager