What The Sun Flyer 2 First Electric Test Flight Means To the Electric Air Industry
We already picked up news of Bye Aerospace a long time ago and reported last November that the company was working its way toward its maiden flight. We have anxiously followed the improvements as the electric Sun Flyer tests the group’s vision and ambitions.
Offering 2 or 4 seats, the Sun Flyer is really a proof of concept that may launch the future of two- and four-seat electric airplanes.
So far, the Sun Flyer 2 has been undergoing extensive taxi testing, with no surprises. It was pushed as far as 55 knots, Sun Flyer’s chief engineer, Tom Bowen, says.
A Big Growing Family of Electric Airplanes
If you’re not too familiar yet with the world of electric planes, suffice it to say that it’s a small world where engineers seem to gravitate between three startups. The Sun Flyer is competing against the likes of the aEro Hamilton, the Pipistrel, and the Extra Aircraft 330le.
According to George Bye, founder and of Bye Aerospace, “We’re all looking forward to progressing to the next test phases. … If all goes well, it will be soon.” This was also echoed by Electric Power Systems (EPS) CEO Nathan Millecam. He noted, “Our energy storage system leverages technology developed for NASA’s X57 platform, that enables our battery module to meet stringent FAA safety requirements around containment of cells in thermal runaway at a very light weight.”
Millecam adds: “We’re excited to work with Bye Aerospace on making the Sun Flyer the first All Electric Airplane certified under the new FAA Part 23 regulations.”
EPS’s role was to design and manufacture the energy storage system, which also meant the battery modules, battery management unit (BMU), and power distribution for the demonstrator of its flights scheduled between the first and second quarter of 2018.
The Sun Flyer 2 Specifications
So far, we know that the Sun Flyer 2 should reach 120 knots and sustain it up to 3.5 hours. It is powered by an 80 kW (107 HP) electric motor, equivalent to that of a Lycoming or Rotax power two-seater. Although, so far the final decision on which motor to use has not been settled, Bye Aerospace’s partnership with EPS hints at a way forward for both companies.
With EPS focusing on the power storage and mechanics, it will design and build the complete energy storage platform system. It will come with battery modules, a battery management unit, and a power distribution unit. This leaves Bye Aerospace in a unique position as it faces the other challenges all-electric aircraft makers endure.
You can go and explore the other projects Bye Aerospace is involved with. It’s worth checking out. In the meantime, we’ll stay tuned to see how the Sun Flyer 2’s first test flight goes.