Cool electric aircraft…Beginning the future?

Electric is hot! Even in a dull economy with sluggish airplane sales, the spark of electric power is crackling with life. Numerous projects have been announced and organizations like EAA are making way for electric airplanes to showcase themselves at big shows like AirVenture.

Now, from an Italian manufacturer comes the work of world champion hang glider pilot, Manfred Ruhmer, and his Icaro 2000 electric “Nano Trike.”

OK, you may be a pilot who wants structure around yourself and perhaps a glass cockpit with autopilot or the maximum speed permissible. But watch the video and see if this inspires your inner pilot.

To me, it looks like a dream…very low noise (except for a whir from the prop blades — blades that fold back when you cut power); easy, one-handed flying; a low cost way to see the countryside on a pretty day. Here it’s flown by an expert but I can imagine the fun I could have with this.

Nano Trike is modestly priced. Of course, just like an electric golf cart, batteries form a goodly chunk of the whole cost. More fairly, battery expense should be compared to fuel cost over time but you have to buy the batteries up front. A Nano Trike will run $11,000 to $15,000, plus shipping, and you’ll still need a wing. Add it all up and it might run $16,000-22,000 but you’d have one nifty little aerial toy… assuming you don’t mind a breeze on your knees.

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