Forget the Avgas, Just Use 160 AA Batteries

In Tokyo, Japan, a piloted one-person aircraft successfully completed its inaugural flight powered by 160 household AA batteries. During the flight that lasted a total of 59 seconds, the glider-styled plane ascended 16 feet and flew a distance of more than 430 yards. The pilot, Tomohiro Kamiya, attends the Tokyo Institute of Technology, a school that has a history of building experimental piloted aircraft.

The institute worked with Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. to develop the battery-powered plane. It has a wingspan of just over 100 feet and weighs a mere 120 pounds. The subsequent flight used only 96 AA batteries and after a push-start, the plane flew 295 yards. Representatives from Japan’s Aeronautic Association witnessed the events, along with others from the aviation community. According to the Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the battery-powered aircraft flights were the first ever of their kind.