Technology Demonstrator for SunFlyer Debuts at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
EAA AIRVENTURE OSHKOSH, Wisconsin - July 27, 2014 - Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. (AEAC) today unveiled the single-seat technology demonstrator for its next-generation solar electric training aircraft called "Sun Flyer." AEAC, in conjunction with its development partner, Bye Aerospace, Inc., is planning to offer the first U.S.-sponsored, practical, all-electric airplane serving the training, recreational and general aviation markets. The company is licensing technology from PC-Aero and is collaborating with Redbird Flight Simulations to offer a comprehensive pilot training system. Jerry Gregoire, Redbird Chairman, said his company will be developing a flight simulator for Sun Flyer. "This is a significant game-changer for our industry," he said. "Pilot training is a logical path for introducing the economic and safety benefits of electric propulsion." AEAC recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology to participate in the development of a complete training system. CEO Peter Harris said Spartan College has trained pilots from all over the world and focuses on providing innovative programs. "We want to be on the leading edge in a smart way by offering high quality and cost effective aviation training, and supporting Sun Flyer's development fits strategically into Spartan's future." The specially-modified single-seat technology demonstrator for Sun Flyer conducted its initial functional flight testing in mid-July and will be available for viewing at the Redbird Flight Simulations display area during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh, July 28 through Aug. 3. PC-Aero is attending Oshkosh to help present and support the technology demonstrator. Calin Gologan, Founder and CEO of PC-Aero, said the launch of the Sun Flyer project is a culmination of several years of effort. "What this launch represents is the fusion of many industry advocates who believe it is now time to begin integrating solar electric propulsion technologies for light aircraft into the commercial marketplace," he said. George Bye, Chairman and CEO of AEAC, said Sun Flyer is intended to provide a durable, solar-electric flight trainer for general aviation. "After several years of pursuing solar-electric flight in the most practical approaches possible, the time is now ripe for this market opportunity," he said. "Various elements of solar-electric propulsion have now matured to the point where significant savings can now be realized from lower operating costs and less complicated maintenance checks." Bye added, "I am thrilled to introduce members of the AEAC Board of Directors and senior leadership." AEAC's senior leadership includes its President, Charlie Johnson, a well-known industry veteran and advocate of electric propulsion for general aviation. "The level of interest and the support we are receiving from industry advocates is very much appreciated," he said. "We are working closely with appropriate certifying officials to help prepare for the commercialization of Sun Flyer." Below are key data points about the project: - The Elektra One pre-cursors to the current single-seat technology demonstrator have been flying since March 2011 - Benefits of solar electric propulsion: o Very low operating cost o Reduced maintenance (fewer moving parts) o No avgas o Electric motor only uses energy when needed; no "run-up" o Low noise flying - less than half of a Cessna 172 o No air required for combustion; little climb performance degradation o Whole plane safety parachute standard o Propulsion system - can maintain altitude even with partial failure o Will not become obsolete - battery energy, weight, cost is improving and is planned to upgrade o In addition to in-flight charging, batteries charge by solar panels when aircraft is not flying - The target market initial focus is North America. The demographic targets are well-established pilot training schools and general aviation aircraft enthusiasts who wish to be on the cutting edge of the next evolution in general aviation technology. - The early customer benefits include operating cost savings - projected to decrease from approximately $100 per hour for the Cessna 172 to less than $10 per hour for the Sun Flyer trainer. The lower operating costs are also an incentive to encourage former general aviation pilots who stopped flying due to the high maintenance and fuel costs of traditional aircraft to return to flying. - Key customer benefits include reduced environmental impact due to virtually zero CO2 and lead pollutants, plus significantly reduced noise signature. - The key leadership team for AEAC includes: o George Bye, Founder/Chairman/CEO, has founded multiple aerospace and energy companies and designed several electric and hybrid aircraft UAVs. He designed and holds the patent on the 2-seat fighter-like Javelin jet that had successful tests flights from 2005-2007. o Charlie Johnson, Founder/President, is the former President of Cessna Aircraft Company, an experienced electric aircraft developer and former USAF fighter pilot. o Alexandre Couvelaire is a well-known leader in general aviation, especially in Europe. He is the founder of Euralair and previously led Mooney Aircraft Corp. o John Knudsen, Executive VP and General Counsel, was Co-founder, President for Government Operations and General Counsel of Adam Aircraft Industries, which developed the inline piston twin-engined Adam A500 and the turbofan-powered Adam A700 AdamJet. o Gretchen Jahn is the former CEO of Mooney Airplane Company, former COO of REMOS Aircraft and is currently Chairman of the Board of DeltaHawk Engines and a member of the board of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association. o Errol Bader is Senior Vice President of Sales
ABOUT AERO ELECTRIC AIRCRAFT CORP. Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. was created to produce, under license, the 2-seat "Sun Flyer" aircraft and bring it to market. For more information, go to www.AEAC.aero.
ABOUT BYE AEROSPACE, INC. Bye Aerospace, founded in 2007 and headquartered near Denver, is applying clean energy solutions to innovative aircraft designs for the general aviation and defense markets. For more information, go to www.ByeAerospace.com.
ABOUT REDBIRD FLIGHT SIMULATIONS Redbird Flight Simulations was established in 2006 with the specific purpose of making simulation more accessible to the general aviation industry. Since its inception Redbird has delivered innovative, reliable and high-quality training devices to flight schools, colleges, universities and individual pilots around the world. For more information go to www.RedbirdFlightSimulations.com.
ABOUT SPARTAN COLLEGE OF AERONAUTICS AND TECHNOLOGY As a historical training asset in the aviation industry since 1928, Spartan College monitors changes in the market and regularly makes opportunistic adjustments to ensure it is providing the trained workforce needed to meet employer demand for professional pilots, mechanics, technicians and inspectors. For more information go to www.Spartan.edu.
ABOUT PC-AERO, GMBH PC-Aero GmbH specializes in the complete design, prototyping and certification of general aviation aircraft. The core competences of the company are general aerodynamic layout, flight mechanics and simulation, structure layout, load assumptions, structure calculations and fatigue test. For more information go to www.PC-Aero.de.