If you ever wondered why we chose to build an all-electric race aircraft and why we decided to throw ourselves into this journey, you are reading the right article.
This incredible adventure began more than a year ago, but has been in the mind of our CEO, Marc Umbricht, for a longer time. Marc had the idea to build the first Swiss all-electric race plane - the UR-1 - during his university studies in the United States. His interest towards aeronautics was predictable, in consideration of his experience as a professional pilot. The “electric dream'' was, however, something unexpected.
At that time, the awareness that there weren't any certified electric aircraft worldwide moved Marc Umbricht to start thinking about developing this kind of powertrain. Marc knew, however, that many companies were working on it and that's why he decided to start with another concept: a race aircraft.
While most of the future race planes are based on a retrofit, in other words the use of an old generation airframe with an electrical powertrain integration, Marc chose to start from scratch instead.
But the goal our CEO wants to achieve is somehow different: he wants to create an innovative, high-performance and reliable certified all-electric lightweight aircraft.
Marc Umbricht's vision
Marc Umbricht's vision is to create a 4-seater general aviation electric aircraft that shall equal or surpass the performances of standard piston engine aeroplanes. This new generation aircraft will bring a viable and sustainable alternative on the general aviation market.
But, in order to develop this project gradually, it was necessary to begin from zero and gain experience through an experimental research aircraft.
The best environment to go ahead with is provided by the Air Race E world championship. In order to build the aircraft of tomorrow, we, at Pie Aeronefs SA, can test our concepts and racing offers us the best opportunity to do it.
Going step by step towards Marc’s main goal allows us to develop intermediate aircraft. By doing so, we can develop and test our technology gradually by working on one or two new concepts at a time.
This will allow us to design and build an end product that is safe and efficient.
Evolving in Air Race E
The experimental nature of Pie Aeronefs SA project matched perfectly with the opportunities offered by the Air Race E organization:
- Stimulating environment in which competitors can meet and face each others with innovative ideas to electrify future aviation;
- Opportunity to develop a cutting edge technology and use air racing as a test bed for our concepts;
- Worldwide visibility to promote our next generation electric racer and what our company is capable of.
Obviously, developing such a project doesn’t only require the idea of someone like Marc. It necessitates a huge amount of know-how in different fields and teamwork is the most important propeller of innovation.
Now employing 13 persons, all from different horizons, Marc Umbricht can rely on a highly skilled team.
But what do our logo and slogan mean and what image are we aiming for?
The answers in a future article. Stay tuned !