In late 2009, Eric Chantriaux, the managing director of Solution F, a French-based company, and Pascal Chretien decided to design, build and fly the world’s first fully electric powered helicopter. The deadline was aggressive: 6 months from concept to prototype. Design work started in August 2010; all development was conducted in Venelles, France.
On 4 August 2011, the first authenticated, manned (tethered) flight of a helicopter powered by an electric motor took place at Venelles, France. The aircraft was flown by Pascal Chretien and hovered about 50 cm (19 in) above the ground for 2 minutes and 10 seconds. The first free hover flight, witnessed by a court bailiff, was carried out on August 12, 2011. It was logged as the first flight of a manned electric helicopter. In July and August 2011, the aircraft flew for a total of 99.5 minutes in 29 flights, some of which extended for 6 minutes.
The aircraft is powered by lithium polymer pouch batteries, providing 160 W-h/kg (0.1 hp-h/lb). The roll and pitch of the Solution F are achieved through a gimbaled front end. The helicopter is powered by two Agni DC motors, allowing the aircraft to hover at up to 1000 ft. Although the max flight time is ten minutes, the tests limited to six in order to prevent the overheating of the batteries.
|Empty Weight||375 lbs 170 kg|
|Gross Weight||540 lbs 245 kg|
|Powerplant||2 × Agni permanent magnet brushed Agni motors, 20 kW (27 hp)|
|Main Rotors||Top rotor is 4.74 m (15.6 ft) Bottom rotor is 4.54 m (15 ft)|
|Flight Time||10 minutes|
- Search eVTOL news posts
- Solution F Paper: Paving the way to hybrid helicopters, Pascal Chretien
- Article: From Concept to Prototype in 180 Days, Vertiflite, March/April 2012
- World Record: First electric helicopter, Guinness World Records, August 4, 2011