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Panasonic Batteries Power Manned Flight
Jul 20, 2006
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Panasonic-brand Oxyride dry cell batteries successfully flew a manned airplane – a milestone in the world of aeronautic as well as the battery industry. Panasonic parent company Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (Osaka, Japan) has been collaborating since January of 2006 with the Tokyo Institute of Technology on the Oxyride Dry Cell Manned Flight Project.

On July 16, an airplane powered by 160 AA-size Oxyride dry cell batteries flew a distance of 391.4 meters at an altitude of 6.11 meters at Okegawa Airport in Saitama Prefecture on the northern outskirts of Tokyo.

Panasonic said the commercially available Oxyride battery results from breakthroughs in materials and manufacturing technology. The battery uses oxyhydroxide, which releases a higher initial voltage than traditional alkaline batteries. Panasonic's proprietary vacuum-pouring technology allows a higher quantity of electrolytes to be inserted into the battery. As a result, the battery is said to provide more power and longer-lasting energy. Panasonic recommends Oxyride batteries for high-drain devices that require a lot of current, such as digital cameras.

About the Flight
The one-seat airplane weighed 54 kg, had a wingspan of 31 meters and was piloted by a Tokyo Institute of Technology student weighing 53 kg. The plane was in the air for 59 seconds. The flight took place in the presence of officials of the Japan Aeronautic Association (JAA) to make it an official record, following rules set by JAA. They will seek official recognition from the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) as the world's first manned flight on dry cell batteries.

The Oxyride flight covered a distance longer than the 259 meters recorded by the Wright Brothers for the first manned, sustained flight, which was powered by a gasoline engine in 1903. The Oxyride flight time of 59 seconds happens to be the same as the Wright Brothers' flight.

After successfully completing the official attempt, the Tokyo Institute of Technology students attempted a second flight powered by only 96 batteries. The airplane successfully flew a distance of 269.3 meters in 39 seconds at an altitude of 1.42 meters.

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