DENVER, Colorado – The single-seat technology demonstrator for the “Sun Flyer” solar-electric airplane completed first flight tests and will make its public debut July 27 in Oshkosh, the evening before the official start of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.
Sun Flyer, being developed by Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC) in conjunction with its development partners, Bye Aerospace and PC-Aero, are planning to offer the first U.S.-sponsored, practical, all-electric airplane serving the training, recreational and general aviation markets. AEAC is also collaborating with Redbird Flight Simulations to offer a pilot training system.
Through a license relationship with PC-Aero, the PC Aero “Elektra One” single-seat technology demonstrator was modified to incorporate many of Sun Flyer’s design parameters and advanced propulsion technology, company officials explained.
The technology demonstrator completed its first full flight at an airfield near Munich, Germany earlier this week.
Calin Gologan, founder and CEO of PC-Aero, said the flight achieved a significant milestone. “Today marks the beginning of a great collaboration with AEAC and the evolution of the next generation solar-electric trainer,” he said.
George Bye, Chairman and CEO of AEAC, said the technology demonstrator’s performance during initial flight testing exceeded expectations.
“Early aircraft operating analysis is confirming that eventual operating costs will be many times lower than the costs associated with similar airplanes equipped with avgas-burning internal combustion engines,” he said. “After several years of research and development, various elements of solar-electric propulsion technology have now matured to the point where significant operating cost savings can be realized, together with the appropriate flight endurance to accomplish the critically important flight training mission.”
Additional flight testing will be performed later this year at the AEAC facility at Centennial Airport near Denver.
“The data we gather during these extensive flight tests will help us continue to define and refine the design requirements and objectives for the future complete prototypes of Sun Flyer,” said Charlie Johnson, president of AEAC.