As you can see from the picture, my visit to the Yuneec International area was the highlight of Day 2 of my AirVenture Oshkosh 2010 visit. I’ve been following the vigorous electric aircraft activities since this time last year and have come to see the Yuneec e430 as the likely first to market with a purpose-built electric light sport aircraft for a relatively broad market.
This is a truly international effort with engineering and flight test taking place in the China and the US, and management from China and the UK. My impromptu meeting with Clive Coote, Yuneec's Managing Director, generated strong respect for the complete focus Yuneec is giving to electric flight. Yuneec has its roots in the electric model aircraft world and so comes to electric propulsion naturally. They have a full compliment of engineering savvy and are in the midst of a massive production facility build-out in China. They are pushing ahead in a complex context of light sport aircraft regulations both in the US and globally. What seems to make this all work is the can-do attitude of Yuneec’s founder and Chairman, Tian Yu.
Tian Yu and his team are serial entrepreneurs with a passion for electric aircraft. My own expertise focuses on organizational design for innovation -- not the engineering of electric aircraft, so please see others’ analyses for the technical aspects. I came away from my discussion thinking that Yuneec was, as Clive put it, an “open company.”
I’d asked him to talk about Yuneec and the electric aircraft ecosystem. Yuneec started out open by building on ideas from both the radio-controlled and human-piloted worlds. They are also open in that they are letting us watch the development as it takes place (I hope to get to follow the US work more closely as it continues). Another open aspect is the breadth of their electric flight activities: self-launching glider, ultra-light, and light-sport. Thank you, Clive, for the great conversation on a very humid afternoon.
Days 3-5 -- more on electric aircraft. This is all a big lead up to Friday’s GE World Symposium on Electric Aircraft. (See prior post here for more background.)