If regularly taking first spot on the podium wasn’t enough for Ellipse’s Alizé trike, what about top honours? – a world record!
That title has been retained by female pilot Patricia Taillebresse since 1987 flying a distance of 811km with an Air Creation SX12 single seater.
A record never equalled until 11th July 2020.
Two seasoned pilots (Jean-Claude Quenault and Blaise Bouchet) took up the challenge, but using minimum weight (120kg) machines rather than the FAI maximum of 300kg for single seaters, thereby realising a double challenge.
Both microlights of almost identical specification from the same manufacturer – Ellipse Delta (aeronautical designers and manufacturers of 34 years experience), using 35hp, four stroke SwissAuto engines and topless Mystic CX wings. This, the companies top specification for competition machines.
The impressive route was meticulously planned and prepared using the PC navigation preparation software Mach7 (see image below). This allowed a maximisation of the straight line distance, whilst respecting controlled airspace. An export of the resulting route file was then used in GPS tablets for inflight navigation.
Using sim card equipped GPS trackers, the entire flight was broadcast live on the internet via the Flymaster live streaming system. Supplementary trackers, supplied by France’s microlight federation, the FFPLUM were taken on-board both aircraft to validate the record officially.
The two pilots left the microlight aeroclub le Moeres at Dunkerque at 05.45 for a dozen hours of flight (11hrs 58min) at an average height just 1300ft and an average speed of 80km/h.
A certain dread was understood … running out of fuel would mean complete failure. Faced with 908km to cover, it wasn’t the moment to waste a drop of the 55 litres taken on board.
However, the electronic injection system of the SwissAuto motor gives very efficient propulsion to the total mass of the machine (MTOW 240kg) at 80km/h for 3.5l/h fuel consumption! Who can say better than that?
Blaise Bouchet : “the glide ratio of the Mystic CX wing and it’s exceptional flying characteristics contributed strongly to our exploits.”
Jean-Claude Quenault : “As well, my Alizé trike was equipped with a triple propeller designed and made by E-Props specifically for the SwissAuto motor. The weight of my machine allowed me to understand that as well as running more smoothly, my fuel consumption was slightly inferior to that of Blaise’s machine at 3.5l/h. » (The weight of the two pilots and machines being approximately the same.)
They arrived at the airfield of Oloron-Saint-Marie in the French Pyrenees a little before 18.00. One of the machines still had 15 litres of fuel remaining – the potential for a further four hours of flight!
The world record has been smashed! The validation process with the FAI is in progress.
One has to ask, do they fully realize the feat they’ve just accomplished or do they simply still have their heads in the clouds?