Sun Flyer to Debut at Spartan

Aeronautical college commits to first 20 solar-powered trainers.

Sun Flyer Solar Electric Airplane

Sun Flyer Solar Electric Airplane

** Spartan College is providing input during the
development of the two-seat Sun Flyer. The
airplane has the potential to bring the cost and
environmental impact of flight training way down.**
(Photos by Deborah Smith, Centennial Airport)

The Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology has signed an agreement with Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC) reserving the first 20 production slots for the two-seat Sun Flyer and committing to helping develop a training system for the solar-electric composite airplane.

"Spartan College is honored to be the first training school to formalize our collaboration on a complete training system that will make flight training more modern, accessible and economical than ever," said Peter Harris, CEO of Spartan College.

A division of Bye Aerospace, AEAC was structured specifically to produce and market the Sun Flyer under a licensing agreement with its technology partner, PC-Aero out of Nesselwang, Germany. A single-seat technology demonstrator has flown both in Europe and at AEAC's headquarters at the Centennial Airport (APA) near Denver, Colorado. AEAC expects to fly a preproduction prototype of the two-seat Sun Flyer sometime this year and hopes to bring the airplane to certification within two years.

The technology demonstrator is powered by a 32 kW electric motor produced by Geiger Engineering. Power is provided through several battery packs, which are recharged by solar energy harvested from solar panels mounted on the airplane. AEAC expects that the Sun Flyer will be capable of flying for two hours without solar power and up to four hours on clear days.

"Our collaboration with Spartan is important because of the practical input [it is] providing to the development and test of Sun Flyer," said AEAC's CEO, George Bye.


Reducing the Cost of Flight Training**

With solar panels mounted on the wings of the Sun Flyer to recharge its battery packs on clear days, the hourly cost of the solar-electric power is only $1, Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. said. However, as with any airplane, there will be added maintenance, reserve and administrative costs, and the initial price tag for the Sun Flyer is projected to be around $200,000. Regardless, the total cost of flight training will be much lower than it is today, should AEAC successfully bring the Sun Flyer to certification.

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