LAUNCHPAD: First all-UK plane in decades secures £500k

A Cambridge team has crowd-funded what is claimed to be the first plane entirely designed and built in the UK since the Harrier Jump Jet.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 19 Feb 2014

The UK’s manufacturing brethren may be best known for their ability to make high-end aircraft engines (cough, Rolls-Royce, cough), but a plane hasn’t been entirely designed and manufactured in Britain for yonks – not, according to those in the know, since the Harrier Jump Jet in the late 1960s.

That’s all about to change, though, after new single-seater the e-Go was cleared for take-off, having raised £500,000 through crowdfunding website SyndicateRoom in less than a month. Backers include Amadeus Capital founder Hermann Hauser and aeronautical firm Marshalls of Cambridge, as well as 36 other anonymous crowdfunders.

To be fair, it’s not like the company has sprung from nothing: Malcolm Bird, the company’s executive chairman, is a former director of silicon chip designer ARM, another graduate of Cambridge’s technology scene.

Despite its rather anodyne name, the e-Go apparently uses technology borrowed from Formula One racing cars, and is super-fuel efficient, using the kind of fuel you buy from a petrol station, rather than expensive jet fuel.

According to SyndicateRoom CEO Gonçalo de Vasconcelos (who apparently takes more than a passing interest in the businesses on his site), the plane is ‘in the final stages of development’. When it does go on sale – likely to be in 2015 – the e-Go will set wannabe pilots back a cool £50k. A small price to pay for that ‘Made in Britain’ stamp of approval…

Still not convinced? Here are some pictures of people enjoying themselves in it. Pleasing their id with their e-Go, as it were…

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

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