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e-Go Appeals to the Inner Pilot

The e-Go concept from e-Go Aeroplanes. The prototype is currently 60 percent complete with a first flight planned for spring 2012.

The e-Go is designed to fun, fast, light on the controls, and easy to build and maintain. A production version should be available by the end of 2012.

October 6, 2011 – If Sigmund Freud were to build a fast, fun aircraft, he might have called it the e-Go. In fact, the e-Go is the first in a line of aircraft hoping to be produced by e-Go Aeroplanes, a startup in Cambridge, England. In 2007 Gioto Castelli and Tony Bishop entered and won a Light Aircraft Association design contest to produce cheap, easy-to-build, and state-of-the-art aircraft that fit into the United Kingdom’s new Single Seat De-regulated Rules (SSDR) category.

E-Go went for state-of-the-art and now its single-seat composite canard pusher prototype, which also fits experimental, LSA, and ELA standards, is nearing completion with an expected first flight next spring.

In designing the aircraft Castelli and Bishop, who are both aeronautical engineers, set out to make the aircraft exciting, efficient, easy to fly, ecological, and ergonomic. Expected performance includes 120 knots fast cruise speed, 1,100-foot-per-minute climb, 400-nautical-mile range at 80 miles per gallon, and 253-pound weight.

“We want to do something that is quite radical - no point in doing another ‘me too’ design. There are far too many LSA that look and perform the same,” Bishop said. “We designed it to be pure fun. It’s a recreation vehicle.”

The core of the e-Go is a combination of composites and foam that makes the airframe light and strong. Early on they spent a long time developing the manufacturing technology, starting with the most difficult components that they didn’t know how to build.

Because Cambridge is in the middle of the Formula One racing belt, they were able to lean on local companies and universities with strong aeronautical research programs to help them develop much of the composites technology and advanced aerodynamics.

“The end result is an aircraft that will be easy and efficient to build,” Bishop said.

Beautiful, simple, and ergonomic
Inside the aircraft they are aiming for a touch-screen display with a start button and nothing else for VFR operation. Almost all instruments and electronic controls will be contained within one unit. Bishop said they took a cue from Apple, which has always designed with simplicity in mind.

“One really good engineered glass panel is more reliable than several conventional individual instruments,” Bishop said.

The e-Go will use conventional throttle flying controls with center-mounted stick, but side stick is available. It will be powered by a 35-hp Wankel engine developed by UK’s Rotron, which has been innovative lately in producing a lighter, more reliable engine at a lower weight.

The company hopes to offer a basic and quick-build kit, as well the production version, which they hope will be available by the end of 2012. But every e-Go needs a family and future aircraft are being contemplated, including the two-seat Alter e-Go and four-seat Super e-Go.


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