Within their project Antares E2, Lange Research Aircraft GmbH has been developing an electrically driven airplane that is perfectly equipped for a variety of different tasks such as manned or unmanned observation or surveillance flights.
The Antares E2 is characterized by its climate-friendly and carbon-neutral powertrain, its unusually high endurance of 40 flight-hours, its high payload of approx. 200kg and a multiple redundancy of all important systems, which makes the airplane a lot safer than its competitors. An additional unique feature of the Antares E2 is its high reliability, which – combined with the fact that the Antares E2`s standard fitting includes optical, thermosensitive and hyperspectral image-giving sensors - makes it ideal for maritime applications.
The idea of conquering the air with methanol-fuelled airplanes was born in 2011 and is now going into production for the first time: at the AERO 2018, the global show for general aviation in Friedrichshafen, Germany, which takes place from the 18th to the 21st of April, a prototype of the Antares E2 will be presented to the general public for the first time. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the unique technology first-hand and to inform themselves about the airplane`s components and the possibilities it offers in direct conversation with its creator, Axel Lange.
In addition, Lange Research Aircraft GmbH is organizing a panel discussion with renowned experts of the aviation industry on the day before the official start of the AERO, the 17th of April, starting at 01:00 pm. Peter van Blyenburgh (UVS International), Manfred Reichel (EASA), Dr. Norbert Lohl (UAV Dach), Robert van Tilburg (Airbus) and Axel Lange (Lange-Group) will discuss the question of whether and how electrically- and hydrogen-driven aviation can improve the performance, sustainability and economic efficiency of long endurance missions. The discussion will be presented by Kay-Sölve Richter (ZDF).
Observation and surveillance missions are currently mostly implemented by using conventional, i.e. petrol-driven, aircrafts. The Antares E2 will make the implementation of such missions much more efficient due to its lesser fuel consumption and lower costs of preparation. This new economic efficiency will even the path for new missions, which are not doable yet due to their high cost and will open the market for new areas of application and for new clients.
The Antares E2`s energy supply is based on the use of burner cells with an integrated methanol reformer system which is superior to all other forms of energy supply, particularly when there is a long-term and constant need for energy. This is due to the fact that the reformer allows the extraction of significantly higher amounts of energy than standard burner motors.
For extra supply during performance peaks, e.g. during take-off, the airplane is equipped with a lithium-ion-battery. The battery pack consists of approximately 24 modules with three singular cells each that are located in the inner wing nose. Each cell is voltage- and temperature-monitored with multiple redundancy. In addition, the modules have battery-heating-systems in order to allow use at optimal temperature-ranges.