In an effort to more accurately represent the aircraft – which will no longer feature wing-mounted solar panels as a standard option – Denver-based Bye Aerospace is renaming its all-electric aircraft from Sun Flyer to “eFlyer.”
“We originally thought solar cells would be standard on the airplane’s wings,” says George E. Bye, founder and CEO of Bye Aerospace Bye. “However, with eFlyer’s primary markets being flight training and air taxi services, it makes more sense to make the price of the airplane as reasonable as possible.”
(Image courtesy: Bye Aerospace)
Read more: Advances in Electric Propulsion
The eFlyer aircraft family includes a two-seat eFlyer 2 and a four-seat eFlyer 4. Bye Aerospace’s current goal is to make the eFlyer the first practical, all-electric aircraft that meets United States Federal Aviation Administration Federal Aviation Regulation (FAR) Part 23 airworthiness standards for normal, utility, acrobatic, and commuter aircraft. By eliminating traditional fuel costs of conventionally powered aircraft, Bye Aerospace may be able to lower the “entry cost” to pilot training and general aviation markets, making aviation accessible to a broader group of people.
In addition to the enhanced speed and altitude performance of an electric propulsion system, Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer aircraft produce zero emissions and significantly lower noise pollution compared with conventional aircraft. These key factors have drawn interest from companies like OSM Aviation Group, a provider of air crews for the international airline industry.
OSM Aviation Group’s Scandinavian roots have led the company to source climate- and environment-friendly training solutions, including signing an agreement to purchase 60 eFlyer 2s.
“It is important that the airline industry steps up to the challenge of developing more environmentally friendly transportation, says Espen Høiby, CEO of OSM Aviation Group, “We are committed to a socially responsible and sustainable business.”
(Image courtesy: Bye Aerospace)
“We’re proud to take the lead in the future of green aviation,” says Espen Høiby, CEO of OSM Aviation Group.“ This is the largest order for commercial electric planes to date.
Former Norwegian minister of transport and communications, Ketil Solvik Olsen, now responsible for establishing the OSM Aviation Academy in the United States, echoes Høiby’s sentiments.
“The state-owned Avinor company, which operates most of Norway’s civilian airports, made headlines last year when it piloted test flights with an electric plane,” says Olsen “This made more people aware of the potential for green aviation. Now OSM shows that the business community is ready to take charge and move the industry further along this positive trend.“
Eric Lithun of Elfly AS (left) and George E. Bye (right) (Image courtesy: Bye Aerospace)
Norwegian partner, Elfly AS, has also added 10 new eFlyer deposits, for a total of 18 deposits. “Bye Aerospace has a strong team, and I think they will be the first to mass produce a certified FAR 23 and EASA 23 all-electric airplane,” says Eric Lithun, CEO of Elfly AS. “This is the game changer of aviation for small airplanes. The Bye Aerospace eFlyer will be the Tesla of the general aviation industry.”
In total, Bye Aerospace has racked up 294 total customer commitments for both the eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4 aircraft.
Bye Aerospace is working with Garmin Ltd.’s engineering team to implement the G3X integrated flight display onto the eFlyer 2. Siemens AG will provide electric propulsion systems for the eFlyer 2, a 57-pound SP70D motor with a 90-kilowatt peak rating (120 horsepower), and a continuous power setting of up to 70 kilowatts (94 horsepower). The eFlyer 2 successfully completed the first official flight test with a Siemens electric propulsion motor February 8 at Centennial Airport, south of Denver, Colorado.
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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.
Contact him regarding any article or collaboration ideas by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.