Virginia, USA based “eSTOL” aircraft developer Electra has completed a fully integrated test of the proprietary hybrid-electric propulsion system it plans to use in its first aircraft.
Electra’s hybrid-electric ultra-short takeoff and landing (eSTOL) is designed to operate from spaces as small as 300 x 100ft using a patent-pending distributed electric propulsion and blown lift technology.
The reduced takeoff and landing distances of eSTOL aircraft will reduce aircraft emissions, noise, and operating costs.
Electra’s aircraft is being designed to transport up to 1,800 lbs (816kg) of cargo or carry seven to nine passengers up to 500 miles (800km) for use in urban environments and remote landing strips. Potential applications include on-demand intracity flights, medical missions, cargo transportation and scheduled passenger services.
Testing of the hybrid-electric system took place at Electra’s propulsion development facility in Switzerland. The hybrid system uses a combination of high-power battery packs and a turbogenerator to power eight electric motors and propellers.
The hybrid-electric system will now be integrated into the company’s technology demonstrator aircraft, to test short takeoff and landing performance and fuel burn savings.
Once working in the nine passenger eSTOL aircraft, Electra intends to scale the propulsion system for use in larger aircraft.
“Tightly coupling airframe and propulsion systems is the hallmark of Electra’s unique and scalable approach to providing net-zero emissions for regional and transport-category aircraft by 2050,” said JP Stewart, Electra’s vice president and general manager. “Electra’s eSTOL technology for the urban and regional aircraft market will allow a reduction of the 5 billion tons of carbon dioxide created by inefficient ground transport in personal cars every year.”