Chip Yates does not like sitting still. Just a day after piloting his electric-powered Long EZ airplane to over 200 miles per hour – making him the fastest electric-airplane pilot in the world – he had to disassemble the airplane, pack it up and drive 2,000 miles east to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Here at Airventure, Yates continues to be busy answering questions about his record-setting run. And perhaps one of the more surprising answers is that Yates is a not a veteran test pilot. He just got his license in June and has about 58 hours of experience, including the record-setting run last week.
When the electric vehicle pioneer bought the used airplane it had a 118 horsepower, four-cylinder gasoline-powered engine that is fairly standard for a Long EZ. Over the course of several months Yates and his team pulled the four-cylinder engine out of the Long EZ. They then pulled the 193 kW (258 hp), liquid cooled electric motor out of his record setting battery powered motorcycle and mounted it to the back of the Long EZ.
With the very well used (Yates calls it “abused”) lithium polymer battery back from the motorcycle in the back seat, the Long EZ was being prepared as a test bed for some of the technologies Yates needs to develop for his transatlantic flight. But after setting speed records for an electric motorcycle, first up for the Long EZ was a speed run.
Keep reading: Wired - The Story Behind a Record-Setting Electric Airplane Flight