Around 20 students from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) have been successful in their efforts over the past couple of years to build a small aircraft that is fully battery-operated. According to a press release, the e-Sling is also the first electric aircraft to feature a modular battery system. This means that the batteries can be replaced during a stopover. As a video from ETH shows, it successfully completed its maiden flight at the Dübendorf airfield in the canton of Zurich in the past couple of days.
For the shell of the aircraft, the students used a construction kit for low-wing aircraft from the South African aircraft manufacturer Sling, further details of which can be found in the press release. After making a few adjustments, the students built the aircraft themselves and equipped it with their technology.
The e-Sling currently has a range of around 180 kilometers. According to the information, the quiet aircraft could be used for monitoring in national parks without disturbing the animals. In order to achieve an even greater range with higher energy density, the students are now working on a hydrogen drive.
As ETH explains, the e-Sling is a “focus project” for the university. As part of such projects, Bachelor’s students of mechanical engineering at ETH are tasked with utilizing their theoretical knowledge in practice in order to independently develop a product.
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