Daher-Socata, manufacturer of the TBM series of six-seat turboprop singles, is expanding is role as a major subcontractor to mainline airframe manufacturers. To existing contracts with Dassault Falcon Jet, now add another Airbus contract to Daher-Socata’s list of clients. On Dec. 11, the company announced it has signed a contract with Airbus Group’s VoltAir subsidiary to design, develop, and certify the E-Fan 2.0. The contract award came after an 18-month work study phase.
The E-Fan 2.0 prototype, which was unveiled to the public at the July 2014 Farnborough Air Show, is a 1,300-pound, 120-knot, low-wing, 31-foot wingspan, T-tailed, twin-engine, electrically powered two-seater that’s intended to be the first electric aircraft certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). The goal is to have E-Fans serve as pilot trainers. Airbus says it’s also planning a follow-on version, the four-seat E-Fan 4.0.
Daher-Socata’s involvement in the project extends to developing both the engines and batteries that will power the E-Fan. The company will also conduct certification flight tests and create operational rules for ab-initio training using the airplane, according to Daher-Socata.
Nicolas Chabbert, senior vice president of Daher-Socata Airplane Business, will lead the project. “A few months after the launch of Daher-Socata’s new TBM 900 very fast turboprop, our technical teams are particularly proud of their upcoming contribution with the Airbus Group’s VoltAir subsidiary in this world premiere for aeronautics,” Chabbert said. Reports indicate some 15 to 20 employees will be tasked with the E-Fan project. Indications are that the E-Fan will be manufactured at Airbus’ facilities in Merignac, France.
In its latest posting on the subject, Airbus said that it envisions a range of electrically powered aircraft in the future. A YouTube video shows the E-Fan in action.