The trade fair in Friedrichshafen AERO is the leading European trade fair for general aviation and is held in Germany. AERO caters for a wide variety, from e-flight, ultralights, drones, business aviation, helicopters and many conferences.
This is not an airshow, but a trade show.
AERO began this year’s four-day event with its traditional media day—a whirlwind tour of selected exhibits that were heavy on electric vertical lift and alternative propulsion concepts.
With 623 exhibitors, it will be impossible to cover them all, so here are some of the highlights that were on show.
Flight Design HYFLY
European-based Flight Design is already well-known for its CT series of light sport aircraft, plus its new F2 line of certified and LSA variants, its F2e electrically-powered two-seater, and F4 four-seater. In spite of the loss of its Kerson, Ukraine, factory to Russian invaders, Flight Design has managed to come up with yet another new design—the hydrogen-powered HYFLY. It looks for all the world like an F2, but this proof-of-concept design is intended to carry four to five gallons of hydrogen, giving it an estimated two-hour endurance.
Junkers are known for their aircraft in the pre and post year era of WWII. So it was quite a surprise to all when they announced that they are back.
Now a part of the American Waco Aircraft Corp., Junkers unveiled three new designs:
- the tandem two-seat, Rotax-powered A50
- the two-seat, side-by-side retractable A60, also Rotax-powered;
- a vastly upgraded version of the historic Ju52 trimotor.
The open-cockpit A50 will be certified under German ultralight rules, as will be A60. The A50 will have a 1929-style instrument panel; the aft cockpit will have state-of-the-art Garmin avionics. The $191,000 A50 should be certified later in 2022, and will be available in several colours. The A60’s first flight is set for Spring 2023. Alas, the new Ju52 NG will not have Rotax power. The 14-seater will have three 500- to 600-horsepower Red turbo-diesel engines.
This is the first year that Rolls Royce has attended the show.
Having recently gained the World Speed Record for electric aircraft, Rolls Royce was anxious to show to the world their latest.
Rolls-Royce bought out Siemens’ electric motor division in 2019, and at this year’s Aero the company showed off its product range for UAM(urban air mobility) and RAM (regional air mobility), which includes electric motors, turbogenerators, and control units.
Together with Germany’s MTU Aero Engines, the company also manufactures energy storage and charging units for aircraft and automobiles. In terms of electric motors for aviation, Rolls-Royce’s launch customer is the United Kingdom’s Vertical Aerospace.
Freshly snatched up by GA giant Textron, Slovenian manufacturer Pipistrel showed off its latest electrically-powered design. The Velis Electro is certified under EASA CS-LSA rules, which will allow it to fly at night and under IFR, but not in actual instrument conditions.
Pipistrel, which will retain its corporate identity under the new ownership arrangement. Currently, electrically-powered aircraft aren’t certifiable under American regulations.
Bristell have quite a name for themselves by offering innovative designs and technology in their aircraft. This year they had three new offerings:
B8 High Wing
While most of the aircraft is aluminium like the low wing B23 Bristell, the B8’s cockpit doors and the luggage compartment door are made from composite material. The landing gear appears to be the same as on the low wing B23.
The basic B8 model is powered by a 100-horsepower Rotax 912 ULS. At a later stage, BRM Aero plans to develop options to fit the other Rotax engines, such as the 915iS.
A glance at the nose cowl on the Bristell Turboprop gives away the new powerplant.
Turbotech designed the TP-R90, regenerative turbine capable of producing 120-130 horsepower yet consuming only 9 gallons per hour. A regenerative turbine is a turbine engine equipped with a heat exchanger.
“With an expected 3,000-hour time between overhaul,” John Rathmell, the USA representative said, “reduced vibration, a fuel burn rate only a couple gallons an hour more than the 915, plus less frequent maintenance, the turbine engine has real appeal.”
BRM took one of its clean low wing B23 models and fitted it with an electric motor supplied by H55, a developer/supplier based in Switzerland.
This electric LSA-style aircraft has a 419-pound payload, an 1,874-pound MTOW, a climb rate of 800 feet per minute, and electric energy cost for a one-hour flight of $7.00. Charging time for normal operations is reportedly just one hour.
BRM Aero expects to achieve CS23 certification by mid-2022. It should be available for flight schools as soon as mid-2022, the company said.
In addition to the main decision makers and opinion leaders in the industry, thousands of aviation enthusiasts meet up at AERO. AERO is recognised as a trendsetter and driving force in the aviation industry. This year AERO hosted four special guests, Toni and Walter Eichhorn plus Nico and Ralf Niebergall.
The next AERO takes place on April 19th to 22nd 2023.