During the Early Middle Ages, the seax—“scramasaxe” in French—was a commonly used curved sword with a notched blade that famously appeared in the coat of arms of Essex and the former Middlesex. According to the legendary myth of “The Vase of Soissons,” the scramasaxe sword was instrumental in forging a new era. Eric de Barberin-Barberini—a pilot and expert in aerodynamics—has selected this fabled sword as the namesake for his team in the hopes that their future e-racer for Air Race E will help forge a new era of electric-powered air racing.
Once autonomy, endurance and affordability are achieved, I believe electric flight will revolutionise short-range transportation.
Eric de Barberin-Barberini, Head of Team Scramasaxe
Q. Why did your team decide to enter Air Race E?
Since 2018, we have been working on preparing a plane for classic formula one air racing so we had already launched the design of a sports-class racer. But following the release of the Air Race E rules, we believed our project would be a good fit for the competition. The challenge of a championship race is also what we were looking for. So the decision to join was simply common sense!
Q. Can you give us some insight on the aircraft you’re currently working on? What is your approach?
We’re not looking for extreme solutions. We want a good-looking machine that can fly well during straights and turns. This requires a strong airframe with a high level of safety. For aerofoil calculations, we’re working to achieve a top speed of 500 Km/hr.
Q. What sets your team apart in this race?
We’re aviation enthusiasts above all—which is probably the case for most teams, too! We’re here to work hard and make it happen. We’re also passionate about airplanes, technology and competition, which is a must.
Q. For you, what is the most exciting aspect of the race?
Racing, of course! The speeds at which we will race will probably surpass even the best formula one race planes ever built.
Q. How important is electric flight to the future of aviation?
So far, we’re more in the experimental rather than the transitional phase on electric flight. Once autonomy, endurance and affordability are achieved, I believe electric flight will revolutionise short-range transportation.
Eric de Barberin-Barberini is head of Team Scramasaxe, 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.