Air racing dates back almost as far as "heavier-than-air" ones exist. In 1909, they were already competing in the Prix de Lagatinerie in France. Since then, the devices have evolved, they go faster, they are lighter and the flight technique more precise.
From now on, a few races remain around the world and vary between navigation, endurance or even the pylon race.
The latter discipline, particularly popular in the United States, made a name for itself in 1964 in Reno, Nevada. Planes fly at low altitude around pylons at speeds of up to more than 800 km / h for certain categories.
In 2014, a new organizer arrived under the name Air Race 1. Regulated by the International Formula 1 Pylon Air Racing, the concept of pylon racing remains basically the same. However, the priority is on racing and the development, sometimes artisanal, of small planes.
It was in 2018 that the idea of a 100% electric championship arrived: Air Race E. In February 2019, Airbus signed and became the official founding partner of the event. The objective of this international cup is to promote the construction and development of new technologies. Attracting teams from all over the world, this spectacular competition will begin in 2021.
Pie Aeronefs SA, as an official team but also as the only Swiss team, is proud to be able to participate.
Air Race E is a pylon race. Basically, a squadron of 8 planes take off at the same time then make 5 turns around a 5 km circuit at a speed of about 450 km / h and this, between 9 and 75m from the ground.
Depending on the wind conditions, the width of the circuit can be adapted. Depending on the speed in the turns, it is calculated that the pilot will experience between 3 and 5 G.
The winner of the event will be the one who crosses the line first. However, the race is a first for electric powertrains. We believe that finishing the race itself will already be the greatest reward.
As for the airplane, it must be 100% electric with one or more fixed-pitch propeller rotors. The engine will develop a maximum of 150kW (203CV) and the batteries must allow the device to race (25 km) then have, once on the ground, at least 15 minutes of reserve.
Batteries are still a dangerous component today and will need to be equipped with an effective fire protection system.
For more general aspects, the plane will be a few hundred kilos and the landing gear must be fixed. The pilot must wear a protective helmet, a parachute and the canopy of the aircraft must be able to eject easily in the event of a problem.
Although safety is at the center of everyone's interests and the aircraft must obtain a permit to fly issued by civil aviation regulators, the fact remains that motorsports, in general, remain sports to be avoided. high-risk which makes them so attractive and spectacular.