Electra completes first hybrid-electric eSTOL flight with Goldfinch prototype 

Photo: JP Stewart/Electra

Electra, a Virginia-based startup developing electric and hybrid-electric aircraft, announced that it has successfully completed the first flight of its Goldfinch prototype. 

The firm’s Goldfinch demonstrator completed an all-electric test flight on November 11, 2023, and a hybrid-electric flight on November 19, flying out of Manassas Regional Airport (MNZ), Virginia, where Electra has its headquarters. 

In this first hybrid-electric flight, Goldfinch covered a distance of approximately 30 miles, spending 23 minutes airborne and reaching a maximum altitude of 3,200 feet. 

Although these flights are conducted by a two-seater test aircraft, Electra’s goal is to develop a nine-seater version that can be used in eSTOL (short take-off and landing) operations, opening up a whole array of new airfields to commercial traffic and drawing travelers away from roads on journeys of between 50 and 500 miles. 

To do so, Electra has opted for a combination of blown lift and distributed electric propulsion, with eight motors increasing wing lift for ultra short take-off and landing, all while keeping noise levels below those of traditional aircraft. 

In July 2023 Electra announced had received an investment from the venture capital arm of Statkraft, a Norwegian energy company that is active in the field of renewable energy. 

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