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Flying - - CONTENTS -

Bye Aero­space’s elec­tric Sun Flyer 2 makes its first flight, and BendixKing in­tro­duces a cock­pit dis­play for the home­built mar­ket.

The Sun Flyer 2, an elec­tric two-seat trainer un­der devel­op­ment in Den­ver at Bye Aero­space, suc­cess­fully com­pleted its first flight on April 10 from Cen­ten­nial Air­port, a mile­stone the com­pany de­scribed as “flaw­less.”

“As with most first flights, we’re not try­ing to test any lim­its at this stage,” said Bye Aero­space founder and CEO George Bye. That will come in the months ahead. How­ever, the en­gi­neer­ing and per­for­mance pa­ram­e­ters mea­sured dur­ing what Bye de­scribed as a “short and very suc­cess­ful flight” met or ex­ceeded all flight-test tar­gets.

Bye said a se­lec­tion for the elec­tric mo­tor to power the pro­duc­tion ver­sion of the Sun Flyer 2 has yet to be made, but the power-plant choice should be de­ter­mined soon. The en­ergy stor­age sys­tem, how­ever, has been se­lected. LG Chem MJ1 lithium-ion bat­tery cells, which of­fer 260 watt-hour/ kg of en­ergy den­sity, will pro­vide a 3½-hour flight en­durance for the Sun Flyer 2, Bye said, a sig­nif­i­cant claimed im­prove­ment over Pip­istrel’s Al­pha Elec­tro elec­tric two-seat trainer, which of­fers a one-hour en­durance with re­serve.

Cal­i­for­nia-based clean trans­porta­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion Cal­start re­cently took de­liv­ery of four Al­pha Elec­tro air­planes in Fresno, Cal­i­for­nia, along with four elec­tric charging sta­tions that will be in­stalled at the Reed­ley Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port, Wil­liam Robert John­son Mu­nic­i­pal Air­port, Fresno Chan­dler Ex­ec­u­tive Air­port and Fresno Yosemite In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The in­stal­la­tions pro­vide the be­gin­ning of a network of elec­tric charging sta­tions con­sid­ered crit­i­cal to the fu­ture suc­cess of elec­tric flight.

“Lower op­er­at­ing costs are key to solv­ing the stu­dent-pi­lot dropout rate,” Bye said. The Sun Flyer 2’s $3 hourly op­er­at­ing cost, he noted, is 10 times lower than that of pis­ton-en­gine train­ers, “with no car­bon emis­sions and sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced noise.” The Sun Flyer 2’s price is ex­pected to be about $300,000. The com­pany says it holds de­posits for 121 air­planes.

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