Bye Aerospace Announces Progress In Early Stages of Certification for Electric Plane
Bye Aerospace has given an update on the development of its eFlyer 2, a small two-seat electric trainer, the prototype of which first flew four years ago. The company said that it has hammered out the certification basis and methods of compliance with the FAA for the emerging plane, allowing the company to build a conforming prototype. Without these agreements, there can’t be a conforming prototype, as the documents detail the expectations the FAA has for the aircraft’s certification process.
In an email to Plane & Pilot earlier this year, the company wrote, “Production conforming Serial #001 eFlyer 2 molds, tools, equipment and components are underway. In close collaboration with key component suppliers we should be completing assembly and will begin operational testing late this year.”
Textron Aviation’s Cessna Aircraft division, a longtime leader in the training aircraft market, short-circuited the greater part of the certification process by purchasing European plane maker Pipistrel, which certified an all-electric aircraft system with its Velis Electro, in 2020.
For Bye, the construction process will likely be protracted for the already long-gestating program, which was launched in 2016. Bye expects two conforming aircraft, eFlyer 2 serial numbers #002 and #003, to join the non-conforming serial #001 in the Bye flight test fleet. The company expects to start the FAA flight test process later in 2023. Successful FAA flight programs typically require a year, usually longer, to complete.
Bye expects that the aircraft will offer good takeoff and climb numbers, along with good performance at altitude, as electric motors aren’t sensitive to the effects of altitude as internal combustion (or even turbine) engines are.
It also cites one of the benefits of electric power is reduced center of gravity travel, which can limit design choices in aircraft that use avgas. As the fuel in conventional planes is burned, the amount and weight of the fuel remaining goes down, so the center of gravity changes, more on some planes than on others. Bye also says that its plane will, in ways largely unrelated to its novel propulsion, feature efficient aerodynamic design, with what it says will be, “unprecedented cruise power-great slow flight, approach to stall and anti-spin entry characteristics.”