Update: Air Taxi Operator Hopscotch Air Signs LOI For Four Bye eFlyers

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Bye Aerospace announced today (May 29) that Hopscotch Air, an on-demand air-taxi operator serving the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and eastern Canada with a fleet of Cirrus piston singles, has signed a letter of intent for four all-electric Bye aircraft. The LOI includes a single eFlyer 2 trainer and three four-place eFlyer 4s. Having begun operations in 2009, Hopscotch Air now completes approximately 1,400 flights per year “at fares far below traditional charter prices,” according to the company. Like Hopscotch Air’s Cirrus aircraft, the eFlyer 4 will be equipped with an emergency ballistic parachute system. The certification process is ongoing, and Bye Aerospace CEO Rod Zastrow told AVweb that the FAA has accepted its certification plans, its “methods and means of compliance,” and its functional hazard analyses (FHA); described as an an engineering assessment of “what could go wrong” and how to mitigate those risks.

Zastrow said of the Hopscotch commitment, “The eFlyer 4 is perfect for regional mobility. Its spacious cabin comfortably seats a pilot and three passengers, with ample luggage space. We see it reaching speeds upwards of 200 knots with a range of over 300 miles based on industry aviation battery energy-density projections.”

Andrew Schmertz, founder and CEO of Hopscotch Air, said, “We believe Bye Aerospace has a clear path to FAA Part 23 certification, a disrupting technology for short-haul charter operations.” Schmertz noted that one of Hopscotch Air’s most popular missions, the 191-mile flight from suburban New York’s White Plains Airport to Nantucket, would take less than an hour in the eFlyer 4, compared to a seven-hour drive. “The clean, quiet eFlyer, with its significantly reduced operating costs, is incredibly important to our customer and increasing future business opportunities,” he said.

This version of the news brief includes updated information on the Bye Aerospace certification program from CEO Rod Zastrow.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

21 COMMENTS

    • Wonderful to see such blue-eyed optimism. I guess a one eyed man is truly king in the land of the blind.
      Cheers!

  1. Judging from the Bye website, the eFlyer4 is not even in prototype construction. On the other hand, many people are willing to take financial risks that are weighted toward loss rather than profit, and as we all should know, many of us are easily caught up in buying the “sizzle” without understanding the “steak” underneath…or should that be “stake”?

  2. I doubt this will happen in my lifetime; I buy KrispyKreme’s instead of green bananas these days. But I did follow the automotive press through the last half of the twentieth century, which was breathlessly reporting both why our next car would be an electric vehicle, and why they were never going to be anything but golf-carts. Then Elon bought Tesla, and now the Costco parking lot is full of them.

    These guys don’t sound to me like Muskovites, but Musk didn’t invent the Tesla himself. He did contribute a SuperGuppy-load of cash and a couple of marketing ideas to a barely floating start-up, and seemingly overnight, electric cars were a thing that a lot of people bought.

    I may live to see electric two-seat trainers on the ramp, but I doubt it; there are too many affordable one-hundred series Cessnas and Pipers available for that kind of grunt-work. But my local rural ‘drome is already installing recharging stations. My goal is to keep my ’59 172 as airworthy as I am, and I’m pretty sure it’s gonna win.

  3. I hope to see it in my lifetime and maybe even get to fly an electric aircraft and I am 81. The reasons that I expect this to happen are cost to operate and reliability. Being clean and quiet will not hurt but I believe the main driver will be economics. I own a Chevy Bolt EV and the cost of energy (fuel) is less than 3 cents a mile. The car has no scheduled maintenance and in 86,000 miles of driving, other than tires, the only maintenance has been to replace the rear wiper blade and fill the windshield fluid.

    • Like electric trainers aspire to be, the bolt is a great basic trainer. Kind of like the (much less expensive) golf cart. Great for teaching your kids the fundamentals like forward, reverse, blinkers, lights on in the rain, watch your lane, centerline bisects the knee etc etc…

      Just don’t let ‘em leave the neighborhood.

      On the other hand, my neighbor and one of my best friends has a Ford Focus with a manual transmission. He swears it’s a 3 cylinder. I’m pretty sure it’s a 5 horse Briggs. Either way though, the engine doesn’t do $hit until you tell it to.Things an absolute pos but loads of fun. Especially off road.

      Bonus: it also has four stars in the rollover category and when it overheats, it would rather self destruct than go into limp mode.

      Bonus 2: you can park it in your garage. Near worry free.

      Bonus 3: 5 horse Briggs & Stratton’s are still relatively cheap. So don’t even worry about changing the oil. Just blow ‘em up and buy a new one.

      Bonus 4: light as h€!! So new tires at 81K? Insulting. The tires should last at least the life of the engine. Probably more.

      (Maybe not a real) Bonus 5: Not sure about my buddy’s Focus, but I have 7 trucks (work trucks, not sexy trucks). I’m constantly changing wiper blades. So, either it’s because my trucks work outside or your bolt lives in a garage, but I know they don’t make wiper blades like they used to.

  4. It’s what they call “concurrent engineering.” When the F-22 was first designed, many of its components were listed in the bill of materials as “unobtanium.” They had all the specifications and properties of the stuff, but nobody’d created it yet. Sometimes they invented the stuff by the time it was needed and the program continued on schedule. Sometimes they didn’t, and that would delay the program while they either waited for the stuff to be invented or else redesigned the plane with something that did exist. We’ll see what happens here.

    • Relying on unobtanium could be justified by projecting unprecedented capabilities. The opposite of overweight and underpowered.

  5. That’s a bit like my saying, as a physician that I can cure metastatic lung cancer. Provided of course that medical research will develop a cure for metastatic lung cancer sometime in the future.

    Sadly that miracle drug does not exist nor is it likely to ever exist, certainly not in the lifetimes of anyone reading this. Same for the battery technology to accomplish the outlandish projections listed in the article above.

    • The batteries already exist. Lyten in California is currently shipping samples of lithium sulfur batteries to automotive and aerospace companies and is building a new Giga Watt hr facility in Colorado . These batteries have about twice the energy density of existing lithium ion and replace the expensive Cobalt Nickle Manganese cathode with sulfur which is basically a throw away material. Quit sniffing the 100LL and look it up. My first electric car project in 1967 may have been ahead of time as we used more than a ton of NiCad batteries for about 100 miles of range. However, if you do not try any thing new, nothing is ever accomplished. Of course, maybe you are still mucking out horse manure.

      • I couldn’t find an actual energy density measure in any of Lyten’s press releases. Do you happen to know it?

      • Before you insult a person you don’t know, who made no attack against you or anyone on this forum think your responses through.

        When you save lives for a living like I do then maybe you’ll feel like its justified to act superior to someone who’s views differ from your own.

        • And when you’re a Mensan, as I am, then maybe you’ll feel like it’s justified to act superior to someone whose views differ from your own.

          Or maybe not.

  6. How can they make 4 flights per day when it will take a full day to get a full battery charge? If you charge any faster, you will have a flying toaster – so be sure to have a kevlar parachute!

    • How fast you can charge depends on the chemistry. The charge/discharge rate is usually expressed in C rate where 1 C means that you can charge in an hour. 2C would allow charging in half an hour. With 3 C, you could charge in 20 minutes, etc. I have seen charge rates as high as 70C which means you could get a full charge in 50 seconds but this is probably not practical for most applications and the power required would be extremely high. I could not find a charge rate for the Lyten batteries but I would guess between 1.5 and 3 C based on some other lithium sulfur batteries. Chevy quotes 100 miles range in 10 minutes for their new truck which has a range of 440 miles so this would be about 1.3 C.

  7. It is possible to charge fast, no doubt about it. However there is a price to pay. The faster the charge, the lower the cycle life is. Cycle life means those inflated run times start coming down and the distance gets shorter. A car can have a cooling system because they can handle the weight. A cooling system helps but the chance of run-away cells is great because cells cool down slow and hold heat. When a cell burns, it can travel to other cells because heat turns the solid oxygen into a gas. O2 is needed because all batteries depend on oxidation. If a fire starts, now you have a torch that cannot be extinguished. A car can pull over but if this happens in a plane, the options are few.

    The only good solution is an onboard charging system. As long as the cells are receiving the same current in as that going out, they just don’t over heat. Only a fraction of the cells are needed and the efficiency goes way up. That’s why our cars have an alternator. If your lead acid battery was never discharged by starting the engine, they would last for the life of the car. It is the charge and discharge that takes down a battery. When you use your cell phone while on the charger, you can feel the difference.

  8. George Bye has been huckstering electric this, that and the other for more than a decade. I’m STILL waiting for the electric QEC for my 172. He hasn’t fielded even one airplane to an end user. If ya’ll wanna invest in this caca … have a great time. ME … I’ll keep burning avgas.

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