The World's First Success in Manned Flight by Dry-cell Batteries

successful flight

The Tokyo Institute of Technology in cooperation with Panasonic, has led the project 'Manned Flight by Oxyride Dry-cell Battery' into the world's first success. On July 16th this year (2006), they made success in a trial of manned flight using commercially available oxyride batteries, in a project that they had been bringing forward together.

I have been interested in the trend of this project for a while from the standpoint of a former engineer, since I had been thinking that Japanese technology was in a high level even when seen world-wide. It made me simply happy as a Japanese, that this project has led into a fantastic result to be the world's first case of success, for it seemed as if such high technology has proved itself to be still alive and kicking.

Especially, I think it had a very important meaning in the point that it were the university students who have not yet gone into the workforce, that served as the driving force of this project, unlike many company projects that are usually carried out for mere profit-pursuing or for development purposes. I felt true value only in the place that this project had been made to succeed centered by young people, who should carry Japan's or even the world's future on their shoulders.

Moreover, we should not forget about the process which led to putting out the highest result in this project.

Personally, I do not intend to say meddling with the performance of the oxyride dry-cell batteries itself. Instead, I'd like to say great job well done to those students, who have worked so hard and made a concerted effort to lead this project into success. I think that the struggles they have gone through, thinking, discussing, trying various measures, in order to succeed in manned flight by using less electric power, must have become a valuable experience to them that equals to the big result of becoming the world's first succesful case.

How it Happened

2006.01.16 The announcement was made for this manned flight project.

2006.04.22 The first flight test was carried out.

Made successful results in "rolling" and "takeoff run" using 160 oxyride dry-cell batteries.

2006.04.29 The second flight test was carried out.

Succeeded in a middle-range flight of about 400 meters at 2-meter altitude, using 160 oxyride dry-cell battereies.

2006.05.21 The third test flight.

A complete self-propelled flight using only 160 oxyride dry-cell batteries ended in a success.

2006.06.08 The fourth flight test was held.

2006.06.26 The fifth test flight was held.

2006.07.15 The first manned flight had to be abandoned due to airframe trouble.

2006.07.16 Manned flight success in oxyride dry-cell battery.

The first flight achieved a result at 2.1-meter altitude flying in a range of 300 meters, 160 dry-cell batteries.

The second flight achieved a result of flying at 6.11-meter altitude, traveling the distance of 391.4 meters for 59 seconds (time of flight), using only 160 oxyride dry-cell batteries as power source.

Moreover, a trial flight cutting down the number of batteries used from160 to 96, also ended in a success flying 269.3 meters in range, at 1.42-meter altitude for 39 seconds in flight time. (Assisted by person during its initial movement.)

Airplane Specs

aireframe seen from front

All-up weight: 107kg (53kg of airframe + 54kg for a person)

Width of main wing: 31 meters

Width of the horizontal stabilizer: 4.0 meters

Width of vertical tail: 2.5 meters

Propeller diameter: 3.2 meters

Material: Reinforced styrene foam, special carbon

For Our Future and the Boundless Skies

Although recently it already has become not unusual for universities, to carry out researches in cooperation with companies, this time I picked up this 'Manned Flight by Oxyride Dry-cell Battery' project, from the viewpoint of ecology valuing resources, and also because it was the first successful case in the world.

I think it wonderful that their achievement has become the world's first successful case. However, I do hope that these university students would make the best of this experience without settling down only on this result, and become an engineer with a wider view when they go out into the world, who can live up to the people in the future.

I hope that they would value more the limited resources of the earth, than the wonderful performance of the dry-cell batteries, and would carry on in their researches or development, so as to live up to our children in the next generation. Congratulations to the Tokyo Institute of Technology, for your success.

Written by Cow on December 11th, 2006