New Hybrid Propulsion System For Aircraft

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Flight Design GmbH, which makes the popular CT line of light sport aircraft, has announced it will debut in early April, at the Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, a hybrid engine concept for light aircraft. The concept engine is based on "a well-established certified aircraft engine" mated with an electric booster only used to boost performance for takeoff and climb, according to the company. "The result is an optimized engine in respect to size, weight and fuel efficiency for cruise," Flight Design said in a news release, that offers 40 additional horsepower when demanded, or redundant power in the case of fuel starvation. Flight Design has worked for two years with Franz Aircraft Engines to develop the hybrid, which it promotes as a short- to middle=term solution for efficient environmentally friendly aircraft still waiting for readily available electric or hydrogen powered propulsion solutions. Unlike concept cars that never make it to the mass market, Flight Design does have consumers in mind.

Flight tests are expected to take place in 2009, in "an existing airplane," and the company says preliminary talks with EASA have already taken place to create a realistic pathway to certification. April will show how they've done it, but Flight Design claims they've managed to keep the installed weight low enough to increase the load-carrying ability of small aircraft flying with the system, opening "new possibilities for general aviation."