It's time for the automotive superstar known as Chip Yates to hit another world record, this time for flying an electric aircraft faster than 200 miles per hour. This is the second world record Yates has broken in such a way, the first being with an electric motorcycle topping 196 miles per hour - set last year at the Bonneville Salt Flats. The flight Yates made this week took place at the Inyokern Airport in the Mojave Desert, California, and also just the day before this record had his very first - read that again - flying lesson with an electric plane.
Though Yates had flown gasoline-powered aircraft before this record-setting week, he only started to fly electric powered aircraft here and now. The unit Yates used to break the record is a Long-ESA, closely related to the model Long-EZ, a machine designed by previous record-holder Burt Rutlan. The machine that up until this week held the record for electric aircraft clocked at the fastest speed was a tiny electric Cri-Cri.
Yates made his flight after several test runs and after capturing the record, a failure of a cell inside the machine killed propulsion and the pilot was forced to make a dead-stick landing. No worries, though, he's fine, and quite a bit more than just fine as he struts around this planet with a "fastest man alive" sticker on his chest.
The next mission Yates is planning on is a flight across the Atlantic ocean with a new aircraft system based on the development platform he flew this week.