Equator Aircraft of Norway recently took center stage at the Farnborough International Airshow with its take on the future of electric aviation. The aviation startup showed off the maiden flight of its electric-hybrid seaplane prototype, the P2 Xcursion.
Equator Aircraft’s P2 Xcursion uses a hybrid electric propulsion system that has been under development since 2010. The P2 Xcursion made its maiden flight after the team gave the aircraft the capability to take off and land on both land and water.
The Equator P2 Xcursion prototype demonstration flown by test pilot Eskil Amdal revealed some of the performance potential of the craft and has already helped the team to see the path forward for the craft. Much as a plane out of Burt Rutan’s mind, the Equator P2 Xcursion is a relatively small electric aircraft with low float wings that stabilize the plane when it is on the water.
The first Equator P2 Xcursion flight took off from Runway 22 at Norway’s Eggemoen Technology Park at 70 knots and flew at 100 knots at an altitude of about 30 feet before landing. It was followed by two more test flights the following day.
According to designer and CEO Tomas Brødreskift, “It was a fantastic day for the team, and marks the real beginning of the test program for the aircraft prototype. We are now looking forward to gaining actual flight data, not to mention looking forward to putting the aircraft on the water as soon as possible. We are thrilled to see that the aircraft perform as expected, and can’t wait to test the aircraft further.”
The Equator P2 Xcursion seats 2 with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 750 kg and a useful load of 240 kg. It can fly up to a maximum cruising speed of 130 knots and it can fly in “economy” mode at 118 knots for a maximum of 1,565 kilometers.
The landing gear retracts up into the plane’s carbon fiber/Kevlar composite airframe and the propeller is a DUC Flash with custom DUC hub and spinner powered by an Engiro M97 Electric motor. The M97 tips the scales at just 32 kgs and produces an impressive 97 kW of power. On the generator side of the system, the Equator P2 utilizes the water-cooled Engiro G60 that, at 15 pounds can produce up to 60kW of power. The system’s fossil fuel power plant is the WST KKM 352 Wankel diesel engine that produces 57kW of power and tips the scales at 45kgs.
The commercial version of the Equator P2 Xcursion will use a custom 6 kWh Li-ion pack weighing 32 kgs. For the test flights, the P2 made use of a LiPo pack with a storage capacity of 18 kWh. The test battery made use of a separate battery management system that, in total, tipped the scales at 100 kgs.