Sailplane and Sky

Schempp-Hirth presents Electric Self-Launching Ventus

(Friedrichshafen, 17.04.2024) Just in time for the opening of the AERO, Schempp-Hirth presents the Ventus prototype equipped with a retractable electric self-launching system, which is now being introduced to the press & the trade fair audience.

Since its maiden flight in 2016, more than 230 of the popular 15/18m single-seater Ventus-3 have been built and the series has scored numerous top places at national and international championships. Outstanding aerodynamics and harmonic flight characteristics, combined with numerous motorisation options, make the Ventus one of Schempp-Hirth's most popular models. The self-launching Ventus-3M in the Performance Edition is the most demanded model, demonstrating that independence and performance reserves are very important to our customers.

With the Ventus E, Schempp-Hirth now presents the first self-launching, electric and low-emission engine option for the Ventus-3 Sport Edition. The certified drive unit from Schempp-Hirth’s long-standing engine supplier Solo delivers approx. 39 kW (53 hp) peak power at 2900 rpm, providing sufficient power for safe self-launch while making oil residues and the smell of petrol a thing of the past. The following features were emphasised when designing the system:

Environmentally friendly: Electric drives limit local emissions and offer much quieter operations; the remaining noise is mostly generated by the propeller. The extra-large 140 cm propeller of the retractable engine, newly developed by Schempp-Hirth, delivers the necessary power at lower rotational speed to minimise propeller noise. The resulting reduction in aircraft noise helps to increase acceptance among neighbouring airfield residents.

Simple: The drive is extremely easy to operate: the fully automatic fast retraction and extension, starting and stopping of the engine as well as battery management are carried out via a single digital control unit (DCU) in the instrument panel, which also displays clear messages in plain text. The power of the drive is controlled safely and with a steady hand via a separate lever on the cockpit side, similar to a throttle lever.

Clever batteries: The two EMECTRIC 400-volt batteries are installed in the fuselage and are therefore easily accessible. The BMS in each battery manages balanced charging and discharging of the cells within the batteries as well as between the two batteries. Sturdy handles, quick-release fasteners and sliding ramps ensure easy and safe removal of the batteries, which can also be charged without removing them from the fuselage.

Flexible performance: While the system comes with two batteries, it can be operated with either one or two batteries installed: Two batteries provide maximum power and allow for self-launching; with only one battery, the minimum wing loading can be reduced without having to sacrifice a safe return home. A liquid cooling system ensures optimum temperature management of the drive system, e.g. allowing for independent taxiing to take-off.

Schempp-Hirth Managing Director Sascha Costabel is enthusiastic about the new system: "We took our time to develop our electric self-launcher in order to offer our customers maximum flexibility and minimal compromises. We are very pleased that this system enables our Sport Edition, which is particularly popular with competition pilots, to self-launch for the first time."

Tilo Holighaus adds: "Gliding has always been environmentally friendly and has demonstrated the silent, optimal utilisation of solar and wind energy to reach long distances and achieve high average speeds from the very beginning. With the low-emission and noise-reduced electric drive, we are taking a further step towards environmental friendliness and sustainability. It is therefore only logical that we have planned from the outset to make this new electric drive system also retrofittable for existing aircraft."

The Sport Edition of the Ventus E is expected to be type certified this year; the first series models are scheduled for delivery in early 2025. In 2025 will begin the work for making this electric drive also available for the Ventus Performance Edition.


Responsible for the content:

Schempp-Hirth Flugzeug-Vertriebs GmbH, Sascha Costabel

Krebenstr. 25 73230 Kirchheim unter Teck

Phone: (07021) 7298-0 Mobile (0176) 70855429


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