At first, I thought electric power for an aircraft was a novelty.

Especially because I created a few Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) that liked to use a lot of power to go fast (SportCruiser & Parrot) or take off from the water (Mermaid). It was clear to me that the electric power technology had not yet evolved to be viable for LSA aircraft. And IMHO it still has not.

However, along came the Zigolo which requires a great deal less power to fly and even zero power once self-launched to soar. And, if you have read any of my blogs, I am not too keen on 2-stroke engine power. So, I tried an off-the-shelf electrical system and sourced Kokam battery cells and wired it all up and flew to the Sun n Fun airshow in 2014. And back. It worked. Not only did I prove (at least to myself) that the Zigolo works well on electric power, I came away with a much different perspective and attitude.  

The Zigolo is a very reasonably priced ultralight. The 2-stroke power packed for it costs about $4k. To me it did not make sense to spend more than the cost of the kit on the power system. I have spent a lot of time in China and know motor, controller, and battery manufacturers in Shenzhen. I figured I could put together a low-cost package and save everyone a lot of money. I figured wrong. I spent a lot of time and money putting together rubbish. It worked. Kind of. But not to the standard that you and I would need to be safe in the air. Afterall, you cannot just pull over and step out when your battery pack torches off.

So finally, I bit the bullet, or at least my launch customer did, and bought a professionally built and proven system from my German colleagues that I have known for years. And it is beautiful! Works great. 45-50 minutes of endurance, super performance, and safe.

I now plan to introduce a family of electric-powered aircraft based on our new ‘plug and fly’ system starting with the Zigolo.

Technical Specifications

  • Battery Packs: 2 x 3.1 kwh 14S/20P/15KG, 60Ah
  • Motor: 20kW continuous, 28 kW peak, low noise, low RPM
  • Controller: 28kW continuous/40kW peak
  • Advanced Drive Interface for an extensive display and recording of flight parameters
  • 3-blade composite propeller
  • 15A/980W charger