The development of electric flight dates back to the late 1950s and became properly known around the world for the first time when Fred Militky achieved a 23 minute flight with an electric free flight model FM 248.
In 1960, an improved version of this model was put on the market by the German company Graupner as the modelling kit "Silentius". The big breakthrough came in 1971, when Fred Militky and Wolfgang Schwarze demonstrated the radio controlled electric glider model "Silencer" in front of an amazed audience at the F3A World Championships in Doylestown PA, USA. The first electric flight competions were held as early 1973, including the Militky Cup in Switzerland.
In Aeromodelling today, electric motors are a very commonly used means of propulsion for propeller planes. The possibilities of equipping model aircraft – either free flying or radio controlled – with electric propulsion are virtually limitless. This includes the smallest models with a weight of as little as 10 grammes up to large models of 20 kg or more. Technical advancements of recent years (construction materials, batteries, motor technology) mean that in principle every model aeroplane and every model helicopter or model jet plane can be operated electrically.
Electric models are emission free and can be flown with very little noise. That is why flying ultra light-weight RC electric models made from balsa wood, expanded and other lightweight plastics in parks, sports stadiums and halls has very quickly become possibly the fastest growing trend of modern aeromodelling. A further important trend is flying small, intrinsically stable, radio controlled helicopters.
The first FAI Electric Flight World Championships for radio controlled electric glider models were held in 1986 in Lommel, Belgium. In later years Electric Pylon Racing World Championships were held at the same time. To date, world and continental Championships have been held jointly for these two categories.