On the formula one air racing circuit, Race 9 is a force to be reckoned with. But Race 9’s destiny is taking an “electric” turn. Scott Holmes – a professional engineer – and Team Outlaw are now transforming Race 9 into an electric racing machine with the same speed, safety and reliability of its predecessor for Air Race E.
I do plan to approach Air Race E in the same way as formula one air racing – in other words, with a strong focus on high reliability and safety.
Scott Holmes, Head of Team Outlaw
Q. Why did your team decide to enter Air Race E?
We were curious. I had some friends who worked on electric vehicles, and we wondered if this was even possible for race aircraft. The answer is yes, so here we are a year later – signed up as a participating team to Air Race E!
Q. Can you give us some insight on the aircraft you’re currently working on? What is your approach?
Our aircraft – Race 9 – is an air racing plane that is currently competing on the formula one race circuit. In aviation flight testing, the goal is to minimise the number of unknowns: you’re testing for safety and for data-gathering purposes. Piloting Race 9 is like second nature to me. I have experience gliding Race 9 with the power off – so I’m fully prepared for anything during testing and then on the race circuit.
Q. What sets your team apart in this race?
Good question! We haven’t seen any of the other teams fly yet. But I do plan to approach Air Race E in the same way as formula one air racing – in other words, with a strong focus on high reliability and safety. We’ve been getting good at winning by attrition!
Q. For you, what is the most exciting aspect of the race?
I really enjoy experimenting and looking for new speed. A pilot needs to have a huge amount of racing experience to really race an airplane well. And learning to fly safely during a race is a whole new challenge!
Q. How important is electric flight to the future of aviation?
Transforming Race 9 into an e-racer extremely limits its capabilities. This means we’ll go from flying for 90 minutes to only ten minutes at the same power output. On the other hand, I expect better reliability due to fewer moving parts. Some aircraft that require high power for a short duration will absolutely benefit from electric conversion while we wait for battery technology.
Scott Holmes is head of Team Outlaw, a participating team in Air Race E, which will become the world’s first all-electric airplane race when it launches its inaugural series of international races in 2020. The demand for speed, performance and power management under the rigors of a competitive race environment provides the perfect platform for the development and promotion of cleaner, faster and more technologically advanced electric motors. Airbus is the Official Founding Partner of the series.