SAE International’s Fundamentals of Electric Aircraft takes deep dive on aircraft electrification paradigm shift, innovation

SAE International expands library of mobility engineering resources specific to more-electric aircraft, electrification of aircraft systems.
SAE International’s latest release, Fundamentals of Electric Aircraft, offers an objective view of current electric aircraft and recent innovations in electric aircraft architectures and technologies.

Edited and co-written by Dr. Pascal Thalin, chair of SAE International’s Electric Aircraft Steering Group, Fundamentals of Electric Aircraft provides deep insight into the aircraft electrification paradigm shift currently cutting across various aircraft segments through tangible case studies from general aviation to commercial fleets.

Thalin’s analyses on electrification for performance enhancements and fuel burn savings focuses on “getting the best bang for the buck” for aircraft manufacturers and operators and he argues that they may bring more value for money as long as new technologies deliver on their promises.

Industry veterans Dr. Ravi Rajamani, Professor Jean-Charles Mare, and Sven Taubert contribute to the unique title which begins with a brief history of electric aircraft before moving into sections that breakdown the electrification of various aircraft systems, from initial power generation and architectures, to the replacement of pneumatics and the enabling technologies of electric actuation.

The work discusses both the electrification of conventional turboprop and turbofan aircraft as well as electric aircraft that leverage distributed propulsion systems and hybrid electric technology, addressing futuristic approaches but not departing far from the operational realities of everyday business (including taxiing, cost models, and maintainability).

This seminal 258-page work – available here – gives a complete report of the progress made to date and also what to expect in the years to come.

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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology. Continue reading »