£1.15/hour to fly China’s improved electric aircraft

China is about to put the all-electric Liaoning RX1E two-seat training aircraft into production, having increased the aircraft’s endurance.

The latest prototype, the RX1E-A, recently made its first flight, according to the China Daily website, with a flight time of two hours, up from about 45 minutes. It has a maximum takeoff weight of 600kg and a cruise speed of up to 160 kilometres per hour (100mph).

Each hour of flight will cost only 10 yuan (£1.15) for battery charging, according to Xiang Song, a designer working on the RX1E-A.

RXIE-A electric plane

“Flying this plane is like driving my Volkswagen sedan. It is so easy to control that even a beginner can handle the machine,” said Chen Zhanwei, the test pilot.

Expected price of the RX1E-A is 1 million yuan (£115,000).

The RX1E, was launched by Sinyang Aviation University in 2012, and has been exhibited at Europe’s GA show, Aero Friedrichshafen.


  1. What a great machine. When will be able to fly to an airfield and charge the aircraft while we are having coffee / lunch and then be able to fly back again? I drive an i3 (BMW electric car) and would never go back to a petrol car now I’m driving electric.

  2. How much doe a set of batteries cost?
    How many recharge cycles can they take? Then we can make a better judgement of the hourly cost.

    1. batteries in new electric cars are typically guaranteed for ten years, and of course they’re getting much cheaper. So I doubt that it’ll be a significant contributor to cost. And with very few moving parts and a composite structure, operating costs should be very low. It’s mostly depreciation, hangarage and insurance.

  3. What a superb invention.

    Would be good to see 4 and 6 seater versions for £2.30 and £3.45 per hour.

    Once endurance reaches 3 – 6 hours this could revolutionise the entire light GA market on a huge scale.

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