MEDFORD, ORE. — When aerospace engineer Stephan Boutenko read a magazine article about a Chinese-made electric airplane in 2009, he was impressed with the technology — but knew he could come up with a better design.
“I thought, ‘If there’s something significant in the world I can do, this is it,”’?” said Boutenko, an Ashland resident who does consulting work for Boeing and other aerospace companies.
His journey to create a better electric airplane is a tale about engineering, but also a saga about the ups and downs of winning venture capital.
The Chinese company, Yuneec (pronounced “unique”) International, had started with model airplanes. When it built a full-size electric airplane and put a pilot in it, the company became a pioneer in manned electric flight.