National Park Service Hails Electric Aircraft

Electric flight noise test with Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation’s Sun Flyer. National Park Service

The National Park Service conducted a series of tests last week to determine the amount of noise produced by electric-powered aircraft and compared them to the noise levels produced by conventional aircraft. Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation's Sun Flyer overflew the Centennial Airport (KAPA) just south of Denver while representatives from the National Park Service gathered sound data. Erik Lindbergh from Powering Imagination and a representative from Colorado State University also recorded the event.

If the results of the test are indicative of the amount of noise electric aircraft will produce once they hit the market, they have the potential to eliminate much of the complaints from park visitors who are bothered by overflying airplanes as well as annoyed airport neighbors who want to eliminate airports. "The difference in noise level was on the order of 30 dB, so the AEAC aircraft radiates roughly 1/1000th the noise of the conventional aircraft," said Kurt Fristrup, branch chief of science and engineering at the National Park Service.

"This baseline data collected by the National Park Service will demonstrate, inform and guide the development of a clean and quiet future for aviation," said Lindbergh, who spearheaded the event. "Aircraft make a lot of noise and its proliferation threatens not only our environment, but our industry and its infrastructure. This is a small but very meaningful step in the development of electric propulsion that will ultimately strengthen the aviation industry beginning with the personal and training markets and growing from there."

Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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