H55 Electrifies the Sustainable Trail at AERO

The Bristell B23 Energic joint project with BRM Aero is on track for EASA certification in 2024.

H55 and BRM Aero presented its B23 Energic project at a reception at AERO 2023 on April 19. [Credit: Julie Boatman]

The Sustainable Trail at AERO 2023 in Germany, winds through all of the massive ‘hangars’ at Messe Friedrichshafen—and tucked into the corner of A7 lies BRM Aero’s sizable stop on the path. Manufacturer of the Bristell SLSA featured on the cover of FLYING’s April 2023/Issue 936, the company has also partnered with Swiss electric propulsion pioneer H55 in its next move, the Bristell B23 Energic.

In a reception hosted on April 19, H55’s André Borschberg, co-founder and executive chairman, joined BRM CEO Milan Brištela in updating on the joint project, based on the Bristell B23 CS-23 certificated two-seat, low-wing airplane.

The B23 Energic is closing in on its own European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) CS-23 type certification, with a robust testing program out of H55’s home base at Sion Airport (LSGS) in Switzerland. The B23 Energic utilizes H55’s EPS 100 kW propulsion system, and should be capable of training missions standard for initial pilot certification, according to the company.

“With the change of requirements of EASA, we are proposed to adapt the design of this motor, and the certification is scheduled for next year—not far away, mid 2024” said Borschberg. “So I’m very happy…these technologies satisfy the requirements for certifications,” that pertain to testing the ability of the airframe/motor/battery pack to survive and contain an overheating or fire scenario.

The first application for the model is in flight training, according to Borschberg. In fact, a parallel project the company is working on is the electrification of the Piper Archer in concert with CAE and the OEM. “That’s also scheduled for 2025,” he confirmed, progressing with a version of Safran’s ENGINeUS 100 hybrid electric motor, also capable of 100 kW.

The ESS includes a battery management unit, battery modules and cores, and a motor controller. [Credit: Julie Boatman]

Origins of H55

Borschberg’s name may ring a bell for other reasons: He was co-founder and CEO of Solar Impulse, which completed its first round-the-world flight in 2016. H55 is the technological derivative of that project, with a mission to bring electric aircraft into certification and operations.

Its core product centers around the energy storage side of the equation, with its Electric Storage System (ESS). The ESS consists of battery packs, battery management systems, and interfaces with the EPS, or electric propulsion system in question. The ESS is lightweight and scalable to a customer’s requirements and designed to sustain voltage up to 1,250 volts.

Based in Maryland, Julie is an editor, aviation educator, and author. She holds an airline transport pilot certificate with Douglas DC-3 and CE510 (Citation Mustang) type ratings. She's a CFI/CFII since 1993, specializing in advanced aircraft and flight instructor development. Follow Julie on Twitter @julieinthesky.

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