TeamNL decided to design their aircraft from the ground-up, instead of adopting an existing airframe or retro-fitting an ICE racer. Starting from scratch has allowed them to really explore where they can take advantage of an electric propulsion system, there have been some interesting problems and they are relishing the challenge.
How is the plane progressing?
TeamNL has completed the majority of design, they are currently preparing for the build of their first full scale mock-up. Up to this point their design has taken place in a digital space, utilising the power of CAD and simulation software. This approach has given them an accurate insight into the performance and flight characteristics of their racer and informed the best fabrication methods.
The race plane will have a smooth and slick airframe made out of high performance composites to ensure a low structural weight. The aircraft is made just large enough to fit the pilot to reduce aerodynamic drag in order to reach maximum velocity.
Team Leader – Rick Boerma
Rick is an avid glider pilot who has competed both internationally and nationally in gliding competitions. He holds a masters in aerospace structures and materials from Delft University of Technology.
Aircraft Design – Fenton Robathan
Fenton is an industrial designer specialising in aircraft design. He has produced concept aircraft proposals for TeamNL and provides the team with design solutions, visuals and composite manufacturing know-how. Fenton has worked on a variety of special projects for OEMs including, Jaguar Land Rover, Mclaren, Hankook and Hyundai Kia.
Aerospace Structural Engineer – Marcin Chilik
Marcin is an aerospace structural engineer based in Gloucester. As the lead stress analyst, he focuses on structural engineering for TeamNL providing CAD models, technical drawings and structural simulations. His company provides structural engineering solutions for aircraft start-ups and aircraft modification programmes. Marcin has had extensive experience working as a structural engineer for Airbus and Saab.
Avionics and Mechanics – Rik Epe
Rik is TeamNL’s avionics and mechanical specialist. He provides TeamNL with the design and informs the fabrication of flight control systems, landing gear and cockpit layout. Rik maintains helicopters and has an aerobatic rating for planes and gliders.
Electric Propulsion System Engineer – Vimarsh Joshi
Vimarsh is TeamNL’s electrical engineer. He is designing the high voltage battery pack, battery control systems and protection systems for the aircraft. Vimarsh has had experience designing and working with hybrid-electric propulsion systems for aircraft.
Pilot– Martijn Kersten
Martijn is an experienced aerobatic pilot in both powered and unpowered airplanes. He competed in multiple aerobatics competitions. He works for the Dutch Air Force and is a flight instructor at Wings over Holland.
What are you most looking forward to about Air Race E?
We look forward to being at the forefront of high performance sustainable aviation.
How does the battery system work on your plane?
The batteries are the heart of the aircraft providing power to the two motors which drive the contra rotating propellers. We have a separate battery for each motor this provides redundancy such that in case of a failure in either the motor, controller or battery the aircraft can continue to fly safely.
What is the stand out feature of your plane?
Aesthetics. Not only do we aim to have the fastest and lightest racer but also the most visually appealing aircraft. O, and the contra rotating propellers of course.
What will it mean to fly in front of the fans at the first Air Race E race?
A breath taking experience! To go from a doodle on paper to a fully fledged racing aircraft zooming over our heads will really be something, words can’t really describe it! We really want to wow the fans.
How big do you think Air Race E will be in the future?
Air Race E has the potential to become a big event in air racing. I hope that the state of the art sustainable electric propulsion used on these aircraft will draw a lot of attention of the general public.