Sun Flyer First Flight Demonstration – Videos

3 years ago by Mark Kane 4

AEAC Next Generation Solar Electric Training Aircraft

AEAC Next Generation Solar Electric Training Aircraft

Elektra One

Elektra One

In the first half of August, Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC) – launched a project earlier this year by Bye Aerospace to commercialize electric aircrafts –  and as such, have released a video from the maiden flight of the all-electric Sun Flyer done on July 15 at an airfield near Munich, Germany.

This new 2-seat solar-electric light sport aircraft project was created under license agreement from German technology partner, PC-Aero, which earlier introduced the Elektra One single-seater.

“Sun Flyer, being developed by Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC) in conjunction with its development partners, Bye Aerospace and PC-Aero, are planning to offer the first U.S.-sponsored, practical, all-electric airplane serving the training, recreational and general aviation markets. AEAC is also collaborating with Redbird Flight Simulations to offer a comprehensive pilot training system.”

Sun Flyer itself has two electric motors and Panasonic batteries. The price expected is below $180,000 and the cost difference to the ICE version should be paid back in one year.

Charlie Johnson, AEAC’s President and Chief Operating Officer stated:

“Our primary focus will be flight schools with a high utilization rates and aircraft rental operations. We believe the lower operating costs, along with the simplification of the frequent maintenance checks required by the FAA for training operators, will result in significantly lower overall costs for Sun Flyer.”

George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace and Chairman of the Board of AEAC, commented:

“Pilot training schools, in particular, appear ready to look at other options. Our challenge is to combine the operation and cost benefits of electric propulsion with the demands for sturdy, reliable, durable aircraft.”

After the maiden flight he said:

“Early aircraft operating analysis is confirming that eventual operating costs will be many times lower than the costs associated with similar airplanes equipped with Avgas-burning internal combustion engines. After several years of research and development, various elements of solar-electric propulsion technology have now matured to the point where significant operating cost savings can be realized, together with the appropriate flight endurance to accomplish the critically important flight training mission.”

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4 responses to "Sun Flyer First Flight Demonstration – Videos"

  1. The second video answered some of my questions: the solar PV adds ~15% to the flight time, and they can charge the plane when it is on the ground in 2-3 days.

    I was also curious how long a typical flight could be, and/or what the pack size is.

    1. io says:

      Thanks. I’m wondering about that too.

      There is a nice SolarWorld logo on the tail, and I counted 84 cells per wing, so assuming specs similar to their high-end modules, it puts the total power at very roughly 700 W. So…

      1) If this can fully recharge the plane in 2~3 days, that’d put its pack at 6 to 10 kW⋅h max.

      2) ~700 W extending flight time by 15% puts the average power draw at 4~5 kW. Less than I expected actually (maybe that 15% is a tad optimistic?).

      The Airbus E-Fan claims a 1-hour run-time; I don’t know whether that’s including any mandatory reserve. At any rate, in my crude estimation, a 6 to 10 kW⋅h battery would put the SunFlyer in the same ballpark.

  2. Lad says:

    Interesting; but, difficult to believe they have a 400 wH/Kg battery, a 10 oz. motor controller and 30% efficient solar cells…of course this is a prototype so they may be working with stuff still in the development stage.