Last year April, Bye Aerospace announced the eFlyer 800, an all-electric twin prop class aircraft that will be able to seat eight people in normal configuration and twelve in high-density seating.
Designed as an entirely new aircraft, the eFlyer 800 has a claimed aerodynamic efficiency twice that of a typical legacy turboprop aircraft of similar size.
Presently Bye Aerospace offer three aircraft types:
- The eFlyer 2 single-engine two seater.
- The eFlyer 4 single-engine four seater.
- The eFlyer 800 twin-engine.
All Bye Aerospace aircraft are electric, thus greatly reducing operating costs and making training more affordable. This is welcome news today with major fuel price increases attributed to oil price increases because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Until the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for new airline pilots around the world had increased dramatically over requirements from 5 or 10 years ago. Due to the coronavirus impact on airline transportation, this demand will be temporarily reduced for the next two to three years. However, over a longer 20-year timeframe, according to industry forecasts, an estimated 763,000 new commercial and airline pilots are needed. This requirement is over 4.5 times greater than the increase of the 165,000 airline pilots flying today.
Additionally, the existing 230,000-unit General Aviation fleet is ripe for replacement. The majority of these aircraft were manufactured between 1960 and 1983 when production averaged over 10,000 units per year. Sales slumped in the early 1980’s due to market saturation, rising fuel costs, limited access to capital with high interest rates and product liability legal issues.
According to the FAA and GAMA, in the U.S. there are approximately 11,000 trainers in use today that average over 48 years old. These old, legacy aircraft are difficult and costly to maintain, burn expensive leaded aviation gasoline producing CO2, and are nearing obsolescence. The industry needs aircraft with lower operating costs and with greater performance benefits.
These are the markets Bye Aerospace is aiming for.
The eFlyer 2 was first publicly introduced on 11 May 2016, and was the world’s first FAA 14 CFR Part 23-Type Amendment 64-Certified Applicant for a “Normal Category” Electric Aircraft. (FAA application filed April 13, 2018).
The aircraft first flew on April 10th, 2019.
The eFlyer 4 which is still under development, is aimed at the aging and combustion burning general aviation market.
THE eFlyer 800
The eFlyer 800 will have a 500 nm range, 35,000 feet ceiling, and 320-knot cruise speed. It will use two wing-mounted electric motors with dual redundant motor windings and quad-redundant battery packs.
Bye Aerospace and Safran will work together on the electric powertrain for the eFlyer 800, with the aircraft using lithium-sulfur battery cells.
Bye Aerospace said they have assembled their first eFlyer 800 and others are also on their way. The eFlyer 800 could start production and delivery at the end of 2022 or into 2023.
George Bye, Bye Aerospace CEO, said they also decided to develop electric aircraft geared toward the regional and charter aircraft market at reduced cost and zero CO2 emissions.
“The background of what’s happening is a megatrend. It’s not something that is kind of a question mark anymore. Electric vehicles are expected. Today, all around the world, young people kind of look at us and they go, what do you mean internal combustion engine. They’re expecting electric.”
The eFlyer 800 will also have the option for supplemental power through solar cells which would be used for things like cabin air conditioning or lighting on the ground.
Bye said eFlyer 800 customer deposit agreements are complete, and several are being developed with U.S. and European air-taxi, air-cargo and air charter services.
“The motors and batteries are fairly well understood,” Bye said. “What we’re doing, that’s new and unique, is to use those as a primary propulsion system, and of course, that’s what we’re doing. That’s kind of pioneering work with the FAA to deliver a normal category Part 23 aircraft to our customers.”
Bye Aerospace is in the process of obtaining FAA Part-23 certification for the eFlyer 2 for the professional flight training mission and the four-seat eFlyer 4 for air taxi, cargo and advanced training uses. All the company’s current and future families of aircraft feature engineering, research and electric aircraft solutions designed to specifically address compelling market needs.
Benefits include five-fold lower operating costs, no CO2 emissions, and decreased noise.
Bye Aerospace estimates eFlyer aircraft will eventually eliminate the release of millions of metric tons of CO2 each year as its deliveries begin and the general aviation fleet is replaced.