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Sun Flyer 2 prototype marks first test flight

The Sun Flyer 2, a prototype electric airplane being developed by Bye Aerospace in Colorado, took to the air on April 10 with a “fantastic first flight,” the company said in a news release.

The zero-carbon-emission, two-place airplane designed to slash operating costs and noise is aimed at the flight training market. Another prototype under development, the four-place Sun Flyer 4, targets the pilot-owner market segment.

AOPA reported in February that the company had completed a $5 million funding round to keep its test program, established in 2014, on track for the aircraft that Bye Aerospace says will be “the first FAA-certified, U.S.-sponsored, practical, all-electric airplanes to serve the flight training and general aviation markets.”

 “We are excited about the future and the potential the Sun Flyer family of aircraft has to revolutionize general aviation, providing improved affordability and accessibility,” CEO George Bye said after the test flight from Centennial Airport, south of Denver.

“Lower operating costs are key to solving the student pilot drop-out rate, which is curtailing the successful attainment of badly needed airline pilots. The Sun Flyer 2’s $3 hourly operating costs are 10 times lower than traditional piston-engine flight trainers, with no carbon emissions and significantly reduced noise,” he said.

The Sun Flyer 2 prototype made a successful first flight April 10. Photo courtesy of Bye Aerospace.

“We had a fantastic first flight,” added Bye Aerospace President Charlie Johnson.

The Sun Flyer 2’s energy storage system was provided by California-based Energy Power Systems, and includes battery modules, a battery management unit, and power distribution unit. The battery cells are LG Chem “MJ1” lithium-ion battery cells with a 260-watt-hour-per-kilogram energy density.

Bye Aerospace said it plans soon to announce the electric motor partner for the family of FAA-certified Sun Flyer aircraft.

The company also is developing a family of advanced, high-altitude, long-endurance, solar-electric, unmanned aerial vehicles called StratoAirNet.

AOPA ePublishing staff

AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Electric, Technology

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