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Spartan to collaborate on Sun Flyer project

The developer of the solar-electric aircraft Sun Flyer has announced a collaboration with Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology to develop a training system for the futuristic airplane, now undergoing preliminary testing in Colorado.  

Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. of Denver, Colorado, said it formalized a preliminary agreement that was signed earlier this year, bringing Spartan on board "to help develop a complete training system" for the Sun Flyer.

A single-seat Sun Flyer technology demonstrator debuted in July at EAA AirVenture, and is undergoing initial testing at Denver’s Centennial Airport while the two-seat prototype Sun Flyer is assembled over the next few months. 

The developer believes the aircraft stands to become a "game changer" in the training market because of "lower operating costs, enhanced safety features and durable construction." The emission-free aircraft will incur operating costs five times lower than similar trainers with fuel-burning internal combustion engines, according to a program description page on Aero Electric Aircraft’s website.

The collaboration with Spartan "is important because of the practical input they are providing to the development and test of Sun Flyer," said Aero Electric CEO George Bye in a news release.

Peter Harris, CEO of Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Spartan, said the partnership "is a natural step forward in our quest for innovative approaches to deliver value to our students. We are thrilled to be the first to reserve a set of planes, and look forward to seeing the Sun Flyer's impact on flight training."

Aero Electric Aircraft, which is developing the Sun Flyer under license from German company PC-Aero GmbH, has said it also hopes to carve out a niche for the Sun Flyer in the recreational and general aviation marketplace.

Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz
Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Training and Safety, EAA AirVenture, Events

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