E-Sling, the world's first 4-seater electric aircraft takes off: The project, developed by ETH Zurich and supported by Zühlke, had its successful maiden flight in September 2022. With this project, ETH aims to achieve pioneering basic technical research for sustainable aviation.
Ambitious goal setting
Aviation currently relies to a large extent on fossil fuels. Global air traffic is therefore responsible for a considerable proportion of total CO2 emissions. ETH wants to counteract this trend and electrify a 4-seater electric aircraft with a modular battery system. In this way, ETH aims to conduct pioneering technical basic research for electric propulsion in the aviation industry.
Zühlke is know-how sponsor
The technical university involves project partners, sponsors and other supporters. Zühlke supports the ETH team with its know-how and financially. Expert knowledge was needed, especially for safety-critical aspects, to verify and second-hand check self-developed components. Zühlke support included reviews of architecture, code, hardware, and user experience, FEM analysis of the wings, advice on avionics cabling assembly, calibration of instruments and natural frequency analysis as well as the analysis of the test stand.
Maiden Flight after two years
In two years, the project team succeeds in electrifying the Sling TSi powered aircraft and carrying out its first flight. This pioneering achievement is intended to lead aviation into a sustainable future. With the further development of battery technology, electric aviation offers interesting economic prospects in the medium to long term. ETH is deepening the knowledge required for this with an alliance of industrial partners, thereby strengthening Switzerland as a business location.
Christian Weber is an engineer (ETH) and an economist (EMBA HSG) with a special interest in humans and change. He has a broad experience background as project leader (e.g. for lean management and transformation projects) and line manager (leading several customer care centers as well as a strategic business unit). Whereas he mainly worked in the electrical industry and energy environment, he has also consulted teams in change projects.