Electric Aircraft Developers Hail Part 23 Rewrite

Electric propulsion allowed for certified airplanes under new rules.

Sun Flyer
The Part 23 rewrite will allow electric-powered planes, such as the Sun Flyer, to become certified.Bye Aerospace

Developers of electric aircraft are rejoicing now that the Part 23 rewrite is complete. Unlike before, the new rule will allow for certified airplanes to be developed with electric propulsion.

“The new Part 23 rewrite allows for the full benefit of electric propulsion in the larger, heavier general aviation size of aircraft,” says George Bye, CEO of Aero Electric Aircraft Corp., the company developing the electrically powered Sun Flyer. “One particularly important benefit for Sun Flyer is that by being able to increase the weight of the initial two-seat training airplane, additional batteries can be carried, resulting in improved flight endurance, greater utility and broader market acceptance.”

Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. has taken more than 100 deposits for the two-seat Sun Flyer, which the company hopes will become the first FAA-certified, practical, all-electric airplane for the general aviation and flight-training market. The final prototype was unveiled in May of last year, and it is progressing through the design and testing process. Power-on testing commenced late last year.

The final rule of the Part 23 rewrite was released in mid-December. The rule aims to streamline Part 23 certification for general aviation aircraft weighing less than 19,000 pounds with 19 or fewer seats to allow manufacturers to more easily introduce new safety technologies.