AirVenture 2023: True Blue Power’s New Lithium Batteries


If you haven’t shopped the aircraft battery market in a while, you’ll be overwhelmed by new tech, including lithium-ion options. True Blue Power—a division of Mid-Continent Instruments and Avionics—was showing off its new lithium-ion batteries (including a 12-volt option) at AirVenture 2023. Aviation Consumer Editor Larry Anglisano stopped by the True Blue Power booth for a look with Matt Harrah.


  1. Did I hear him correctly when he said 2K for the battery? I am a rental pilot, and have never priced out a battery. But that sounds crazy to me.

    I helped out guys back in the day to install the dry cell spiral batteries into their vintage aircraft. They didn’t spend anywhere close to that. Even with the necessary fabrications.

    • Well, a typical sealed 24V aircraft battery lists for around $900. If they really can get 6 or 7 years instead of 3 it ends up costing a bit more and you save a significate amount of weight. Not as bad as it sounds (I was expecting $6000.)

      • True Blue sells the 24 volt and the 12 versions for GA applications for $2,500, and they spec. an 8 year average life.
        AircraftSpruce sells the Concorde 24 volt battery for $760 and they are typically good for 4 years… The 12 volt unit sells for $400..
        So, go figure the economy..3x to 6x the cost for 2x the life…?

        Also, using a lithium battery requires adjusting the voltage regulator for the higher charging voltage of the lithium battery.
        For those experimental aircraft using alternators with an internal regulator…it is not adjustable. Adding an external Voltage regulator to one of these requires substantial reworking of the internal connections and adding a ‘field’ terminal…

        There is about an 13 pound weight savings, or 2.2 gallons of gas….is it worth it ?

  2. Lithium batteries can catch fire and when they do they burn hot and furious. They are all but impossible to put out. Since this obviously would bring a plane down, what have the manufacturers done to address this possibility?

  3. Yes, it’s pricey for avg GA use given glass mat technology at a much lower price point, but may be cost effective if used more heavily in flight schools & commercial ops as noted.
    The promotional video of course failed to address the elephant in the room as Carl B points out,…and he is correct. Altho rare, thermal runaways CAN & DO occur with a wide variety of lithium batteries configurations. An occurrence while airborne would certainly be disastrous with the same or worse outcome as a full out fuel fire. Land ASAP. My question would be for lithium batteries located in an already hot forward engine compartment (singles), would the risk of thermal runaway be higher than if located elsewhere cooler? I would CERTAINLY opt for ALL the monitoring technology offered (ie, Tesla) to detect a problem early in ANY aircraft installation. Could save lives!

    • Not sure. But our guys were installed automobile gell cell batteries into their aircraft over 20 years ago.

      Not sure if this is legal or not. But it worked. They even did stunt flying and aerobatics without any issues.

      I lost track of them years ago after the club disbanded. But I have yet to read about any accident or incidents since then.

  4. Well, as long as the thing doesn’t catch fire and burn the airplane along with the hangar it is in, everything will be fine. These batteries are nasty for overheating especially in hot humid weather. Remember, Lithium is a component of nuclear weapons.

    • “A component of nuclear weapons”? You think that is relevant, really? Well in that case, lithium is also a treatment for bipolar disorder, so you’d be crazy not to take it in your airplane.

  5. Note that all Lithium batteries have an internal computer, ‘battery management system’.
    Among other things, it monitors overvoltage charging and undervoltage discharging.
    If undervoltage is detected, [ a near discharged battery], the BMS will disconnect the battery from the loads. So, in an aircraft , a total electrical failure.

    A lead-acid battery will continue discharging below where the avionics stop working, about 11.5 volts for a 12 volt battery.
    If all the loads re removed, the battery will recover some terminal voltage, which can be used to momentarily operate a radio or nav unit.