ABOVE: The Norwegian-registered electric-powered aircraft caught fire on the ground

The Nordic Air Racing Team have shared the sad news of the loss of their one and only race aircraft – a modified Cassutt 111M – which has been destroyed in a fire on the ground. Nobody was injured in the incident.

“It is with great sadness we have to report that our labour of many years was consumed in fire,” posted the team in a statement, elaborating that the blaze broke out moments after a static 30 minute ground test.  The emergency services arrived on scene to control the fire moments later and a report was subsequently submitted to the CAA.

“At this time the probable cause cannot be determined, but an internal evaluation will hopefully reveal key learnings and identify where we made mistakes,” wrote the team, reinforcing that “this is why we conduct a lot of tests on the ground, to make sure our pilot is safe in the air”.

The aircraft itself – a modified Cassutt 111M – featured specially a designed in-house battery casing and firewall as well as lithium-ion battery cells and smaller cooling air intakes. ‘We kept the rear part of the fuselage and the wings untouched,’ notes the team’s website, referencing a redesign intentionally kept ‘as simple as possible’.

“Of course losing our one and only test and race aircraft puts NAR and EAP in a difficult situation,” concluded the statement.

Electric Aircraft Propulsion was founded in 2020 to create the first Scandinavian air racing team, the Nordic Air Racing Team, to compete in the international Air Race E series. Founding partners Equator Aircraft, Inet and Sola Aircraft Centre came together to develop an all-electric powertrain to be used in air racing, the former of whom have been involved with developing electric drivetrains since 2012.

IMAGE: NORDIC AIR RACING TEAM