US electric airplane completes first flight

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Bye Aerospace’s electric Sun Flyer 2 successfully completed the first official flight test with a Siemens electric propulsion motor February 8 at Centennial Airport, south of Denver, Colorado.

Bye is developing the 2-seat Sun Flyer 2 and the 4-seat Sun Flyer 4 with the aim of becoming the first FAA-certified, US-sponsored all-electric airplane for flight training and general aviation markets.

The company successfully conducted the maiden flight of a Sun Flyer 2 prototype during April 2018.

The electric propulsion systems for the Sun Flyer 2 airplane are being provided by Siemens – the 57 lb (26kg), SP70D motor with a 90kW peak rating (120hp), and a continuous power setting of up to 70kW (94hp).

George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace said, “The airplane performed exactly as planned,” he said. “My thanks to the entire Siemens team for their participation as we enter this next, important flight test phase of Sun Flyer 2 with the Siemens electric propulsion system.”

Sun Flyer 2’s program application to the FAA was accepted under FAR 23 certification criteria in the spring of 2018. The Sun Flyer 2 prototype will conduct extensive additional flight test activities in 2019 and continue to work closely with FAA representatives on certification activities. Current flight test focus areas are propulsion system, envelope expansion and systems optimization.

Dr. Frank Anton, executive vice president and head of eAircraft at Siemens said, “This successful test flight is a proud moment for the Siemens and Bye Aerospace teams and marks a milestone in bringing the age of electric flight to life.

“The Siemens electric propulsion system offers a clean, cost-efficient and silent propulsion alternative to the flight training market without compromising performance or safety.”

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 16 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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