With its certification announced Feb. 25, True Blue Power’s TB17 is the first lithium-ion engine start and aircraft battery to be blessed by the FAA and the European Aviation Safety Agency for general aviation, the company said.
According to the manufacturer, the battery offers a number of benefits over a standard model. At 16 pounds it is half the weight but roughly the same size and shape as traditional models, making drop-in much easier. The company also claims 50 to 75 percent less maintenance costs, and a two- to three-times longer life.
Right now True Blue Power’s 17-amp-hour model is the only one certified, and it is slated only for new aircraft. The company has yet to announce a launch customer, but plans to do so in the second half of the year. It is also working on certifying a 44-amp-hour model that a representative said will be complete in the second quarter of 2014. Future plans for both include the ability to retrofit to existing aircraft.
Previously seen simply as an advanced battery technology, lithium-ion is now associated with Boeing’s fire woes. True Blue Power clearly recognizes this, and the company stresses safety above all else. “Safety is addressed at multiple levels including the chemistry, cell design, pack and battery system packaging, and the integration of sophisticated electronic protection systems into the battery itself,” said division manager Rick Slater.
True Blue Power is a division of Mid-Continent Instruments.