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.