Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

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Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby Lock » Fri Aug 20, 2010 7:46 am

http://www.cessna.com/NewReleases/FeaturedNews/NewReleaseNumber-1192324720455.html
Cessna and Bye Energy Developing Electric-Powered Proof-of-Concept Skyhawk
OSHKOSH, Wis., July 26, 2010 - Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced that it is collaborating with Bye Energy, Inc., an integrator of clean, alternative energy technologies for business and general aviation aircraft, to design and develop an electric propulsion system for a Cessna 172 proof-of-concept (POC) aircraft.

Cessna’s Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton said, “As we look at the landscape of alternative fuels for general aviation aircraft, the electric power plant offers significant benefits, but there are significant challenges to get there. We believe Bye Energy has gotten off to a good start in understanding those challenges and how to overcome them.”

George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy Inc., thanked Cessna for its collaboration. “We are honored to work with Cessna in accomplishing the proof of concept endeavor. Cessna’s support of the electric and electric-hybrid program is vital to moving general aviation into the future,” he said.

Representatives from Bye Energy will be at the Cessna exhibit during EAA’s AirVenture on Thursday, July 29, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., for one-on-one interviews.

First flight of the electric-powered Cessna 172 Skyhawk POC is expected to take place by yearend.




Bye Energy here:
http://www.byeenergy.com/pages/

Bye looks like a biofuel outfit that have jumped-ship to electrics... 8)

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Re: Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby wheelbender6 » Sat Aug 28, 2010 8:56 pm

It will be interesting to see how an e-Skyhawk handles. Maybe it won't "Float forever" over the runway during landing.
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Re: Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby AndyH » Fri Nov 12, 2010 1:54 pm

http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/avflash/1768-full.html#203601
Electric 172 Aimed At Training Market

Bye Energy says its electric-powered Cessna 172 will be much more than an airshow curiosity. In fact, the company told AVweb that it hopes to revolutionize the Part 23 training market with the aircraft. "Our clear focus is mainstream aviation," company president George Bye said. "It's ideal for training." Bye said the aircraft will be a two-place with an endurance of two hours on a combination of battery power, solar and power reclaimed from wing tip devices intended to capture vortex energy in flight and by the push on the prop during descent. He said the company intends it to be "the point of entry for new pilots."

Bye said the 172 is the ideal platform for the aircraft because it's already the most popular training aircraft in the world. By making it electric, operating costs drop dramatically (they're predicting $5-$10 an hour in energy costs) and the TBO of the 180-horsepower, 42-pound engine is estimated at as much as 25,000 hours. The resulting 172, which the company hopes will fly in early 2011, will look a little different. The cowling will be tapered for the much smaller motor and that means virtually all the prop's thrust will be used for movement, rather than the significant amount that is used for engine cooling in current models. The conforming aircraft will have a six-bladed composite prop but the proof of concept will have a conventional two-blade prop. The weight shed by getting rid of the piston engine and the fuel it needs will be taken up by lithium ion batteries and the weight and balance is not expected to change.
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Re: Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby Jeremy Harris » Fri Nov 12, 2010 2:22 pm

Interesting that they see the market as being training. I can understand the cost benefit, but can't help but feel that they'll have an uphill struggle with getting it accepted as a certified training aircraft. A fair bit of flight training involves engine and fuel management, neither of which can be accurately simulated with an electric aircraft. My guess is that Cessna may find the "traditionalist" thinking that is so prevalent in the light aircraft business.

I wonder how they are going to tackle the quick turn-around recharge that schools will need? Most flying schools like to keep their aircraft working pretty hard during flyable weather, so a turn around time of less than an hour would be the minimum acceptable, 30 mins would be better.

Still, nice to see mainstream manufacturers taking electric power seriously.

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Re: Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby johnrobholmes » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:40 pm

Maybe they could address it with hot swap packs. Who knows, in ten years battery capacity may be such that we could fly the same plane for ten hours on one charge. I can certainly wish at least.


I love the low maintenance of electric vehicles. It sounds like it could make planes much more reliable.
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Re: Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby liveforphysics » Fri Nov 12, 2010 3:43 pm

I see no reason why they couldn't have a 10-15minute charge time if they choose a modern battery. I think it's a great step in the right direction. :)
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Re: Cessna and Bye Energy Electric-Powered Skyhawk

Postby Lock » Sat Dec 18, 2010 2:00 am

Update on progress from November 15:
http://www.eaa.org/news/2010/2010-11-15_electric172.asp
The initial Phase 1 electric 172 will be a two-place aircraft capable of about an hour’s worth of flight time. At the current rate of technology improvement, Bye Energy expects its Phase 2 aircraft to have endurance of two hours.

Higher reliability is expected from the electric motor, which should have 20,000-30,000 hours of operational capability versus 2,500-3,000 hours from a conventional GA engine. The electric motor should also be smoother with less noise and vibration.

Operating cost should also be lower, considering Bye Energy’s worst-case future estimates for the cost of electricity and best-case costs of fuel. “On the average, we’ll be able to reduce operating cost between 75 and 80 percent,” Johnson claimed. “So instead of operating an airplane at $55 or $60 per hour, we’ll be operating down somewhere below $10 per hour.”

The electric 172 has performance advantages too, since unlike conventional engines an electric motor has no lapse rate in which power output decreases at higher altitudes in thinner air. The engine cowling is more streamlined, since a large inlet to cool engine cylinders isn’t required. Thus, the root of the propeller can contribute to thrust and parasite drag is reduced by 10 to 14 percent.

The Phase 1 aircraft will begin taxi tests in the first quarter of 2011, fly in the spring, and be flown to numerous air shows during the summer. A Phase 2 aircraft will include a six-blade propeller and regenerative technologies including solar panels on top of the wings and a regenerative drag device to recapture energy from wing tip vortices. The company may eventually offer an APU and a 4-5 gallon jet fuel tank that could generate electricity to extend aircraft range.

The kicker? When descending, the prop generates electricity that’s added to the batteries. According to Bye, “Pattern work in a training environment is ideal and that happens to be our initial market interest with training airplanes.”


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