Excitement over electric flight is palpable. That excitement has the folks at Bye Aerospace, an Englewood, Colorado-based electric aircraft company, very busy. George Bye, the company’s founder and CEO, provided an update his company’s work at EAA AirVenture last week. Bye Aerospace has established itself as a leader in the emerging all-electric aircraft industry.
While the company has yet to certify its first model, it has announced three different all-electric airplanes.
After several years of flight testing, the eFlyer 2 technology demonstrator has proved the viability of the charging process, flight capabilities and maintainability. So, the company is building the conforming version of the two-seat trainer—the only airplane in the product line that is currently flying.
Now it’s time to transition to conforming models, Bye said, and the production of serial number one is underway. Bye said that several modifications from the proof-of-concept airplane have already been addressed, including:
- New battery packs
- A longer wing
- The addition of a conforming Safran motor
Bye also announced that the eFlyer 2 avionics panel will be powered by Garmin’s G500 TXi rather than the originally announced G3X.
“The modern G500 TXi flight display has been tailored for the eFlyer 2 to display its electric propulsion information,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin’s vice president of aviation sales and marketing, “while also adding advanced capabilities such as safety enhancing synthetic vision, terrain and traffic alerting, geo-referenced charts, and more.
“These impressive capabilities are all featured on an intuitive, high-resolution touchscreen display that makes G500 TXi in the eFlyer 2 ideal for the global flight training market,” Wolf added.
Bye expects certification for the eFlyer 2 in late 2022 or early 2023.
The next product to be introduced to the market will be the eFlyer 4, which is expected to be certified about one year after the eFlyer 2, Bye said.
“The foundation of Bye Aerospace with the two-seat eFlyer 2 creates the possibility of the eFlyer 4,” he said. “Much like a 172 to a 182, and the Piper series of aircraft, the same philosophy applies to the eFlyer family of aircraft.”
It will be powered by a 200 kW electric motor, the equivalent of 268 horsepower.
“The projected aerodynamic performance for this 200-knot airplane continues to mature and improve,” Bye added. “This is due to its sleek fuselage profile and advanced wing design. The eFlyer 4′s unprecedented 48-inch-wide cabin is quiet and without compromise and will carry an 860-pound payload.”
The eFlyer 4 was designed with advanced flight training and air taxi applications in mind.
Earlier this year, Bye Aerospace also announced its intent to produce a much larger airplane, the eFlyer 800.
“Just like the eFlyer 2 and 4 create a possibility of an electric future for general aviation, the eFlyer 800 creates the same possibility for the turboprop category of aircraft,” Bye said.
It’s designed to offer business utility, with eight seats, a 500-nm range, and the ability to climb to 35,000 feet with a pressurized cabin. French engine manufacturer Safran is creating the propulsion system for the eFlyer 800 in addition to the eFlyer 2 and 4.
Bye hopes to certify the eFlyer 800 in 2025.
Bye Aerospace has been working on its electric aircraft concept since 2007 and is still in the process of delivering its first airplane. So while the eFlyer 800 would have the benefit of the development and certification of its smaller sibling aircraft, a plan to bring three new designs to market within four years is ambitious to say the least. Investors continue to support the concept and the company continues to make progress on the development of its products, and the designs and performance numbers suggest that the effort is full-speed ahead.
“Electric aviation is going to change everything, but sometimes change is hard,” Bye said.