E-aircraft takes off at Pitt Meadows airport

After a first attempt earlier, Saturday electrically powered hang glider got airborne for the first time in Canada

Randy Rauck and John McClintock with e-Up Aviation will try again to get airborne.

Randy Rauck and John McClintock with e-Up Aviation will try again to get airborne.

After a failed attempt, the first electrically powered aircraft to fly in Canada lifted off in Pitt Meadows on Saturday.

After running into technical problems and bad weather earlier in the week, eUP’s Green 1ultralight made aviation history at Pitt Meadows Regional Airport, as co-owner and pilot Randy Rauck got the powered glider airborne at about 10 a.m.

“EUP is proud to be the first to fly on battery power in the country,” the co-owner, John McClintock, said.

The company says the flight was the first of a Canadian-made electric aircraft and that the goal was to develop an aircraft that was affordable, fun and environmentally friendly.  The aircraft also produces no vibration nor the incessant drone of a two-stroke engine usually associated with powered ultra-lights.

The motor can be charged for five hours and then can provide an hour’s flying time for a solo pilot. Maximum altitude is 15,000 feet and for an extra few kilograms for a more powerful motor, the aircraft can be enlarged to carry two people.

The company’s immediate goal is to produce more self-launching hang gliders, priced at about $25,0000, that can use the 26-horsepower electric motors for either launching or getting glider pilots into updraft air columns.

It plans to demonstrate the aircraft across western Canada and the U.S. early next year.

The company also wants to develop the powertrain for other aircraft.

• Video of the flight is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-BR4x-RAKA.

The clip shows the aircraft zooming above the airport with only the noise of the propeller.

Then it touches down, with the snow capped mountains in the background.

“Congratulations on the flight test. Pretty cool,” said the air control tower.

“Y-e-s,” said pilot Rauch as he rolled up to the terminal.