Bye Aerospace officially unveiled its new eight-seat eFlyer 800 all-electric twin “turboprop class” aircraft design on Thursday. Aimed at the air-taxi, air-cargo, regional and charter aircraft markets, the eFlyer 800 will feature two wing-mounted electric motors with dual redundant motor windings, quad-redundant battery packs and a whole airframe parachute. According to Bye, operating cost for the aircraft will be one-fifth that of “traditional” twin turboprops.
“The eFlyer 800 is the first all-electric propulsion technology airplane that achieves twin-turboprop performance and safety with no CO2 and extremely low operating costs,” said Bye Aerospace CEO George Bye. “This type of remarkable economy and performance is made possible by the electric propulsion system and advanced battery cell technology that results in significantly higher energy densities.”
Bye Aerospace is working with Safran on an electric powertrain for the eFlyer 800, which is expected to have a top cruise speed of up to 320 knots, 35,000-foot ceiling and 500-NM range with 45-minute IFR reserves. The company is also looking at offering an emergency autoland system for the aircraft along with options for supplemental power solar cells and in-wheel electric taxi. In addition to developing the 800, Bye is currently pursuing FAA Part 23 certification for its two-seat eFlyer 2, which flew for the first time in April 2018, and four-seat eFlyer 4.
“All-electric twin turboprop”
Huh? No combustion no ‘turbo’. They can’t get that right even?
“Advanced battery cell technology that results in significantly higher energy densities.”
And this exists where and is powering what?
“In-wheel electric taxi”
Because battery power is so limited it can’t even taxi under its own power?
If this is necessary how close they must be cutting battery reserve!
In-wheel taxi motors would be for power savings on the ground. Why sit there beating the air into submission just to taxi? That’s an incredibly inefficient way to move around.
The airlines were looking at fitting taxi motors to 737/A320 class aircraft as a fuel-saving measure; they could power it off the APU and delay engine start or shut down sooner. Big savings on a 30+ minute taxi… but I think the drop in fuel prices made the cost and weight hit not worth it.
Look at all the extra weight this thing will have to carry around: motors in wheel hubs, huge stored parachute, solar panels added in the skin, redundant batteries, etc.
It’s as if Jim Bede back and cares less about reality and focuses on selling.
No one is producing an electric aircraft and they will all sing the same song, when battery technology gets better we will have unlimited energy for an unlimited amount of time. All you have to do is invest in my company and someday, in the future we can build an electric airplane and make you rich.
Why are all snake oil salesmen drawn to the aviation industry. PT Barnum would be proud of these guys.
And yet … it will happen. Having a plane using existing battery technology with a short range (500 nm) is a huge bonus when energy density goes up 2x or 3x.
I find it difficult to believe even one word of this.
But I eagerly await news of its first flight.
While I share the same skepticism, a first flight isn’t difficult. It’s first 500nm flight on the other hand…
Agree with every one of the preceeding comments.
Aviation publications do their readers and viewers no favors by publishing these “never-was/never WILL BE” pipe dreams. I rarely even look at them–except to see what whacky-ware is out there now. With the exception of electric motor gliders and other very light aircraft, it will be a long time before being taken seriously.
As a long-time reader/subscriber, AvWeb/Aviation Consumer is THE MOST TRUSTED source of aviation news. Perhaps a separate section for “Other futuristic proposals” would be in order–if any of these DID start to actually be developed, they could be moved up to an actual “working on certification” status. In the meantime, publications wouldn’t lose credibility by wasting reader’s time. Leave the “Far-out” stuff to Popular Mechanics magazine, which has been showing “Flying Cars” as “Just around the corner for what–85 YEARS?
I think technologically this if feasible…The big problem is DC fast charging infrastructure at small GA airports. It doesn’t exist.
Even if this and the other e-flyers are feasible, how is the emission creation any different in the conversion directly from fuel burnt to thrust versus fuel burnt to power generation to recharging to discharging to thrust? I would expect it to be less efficient and therefore create greater emissions. There has to be a loss of efficiency simply by the added steps in the process plus the losses of component performance.
The power to recharge does not have to come from burning fossil fuels, and even if it does, power plants are probably more efficient at the conversion. As solar and wind power become more prevalent, the savings in emissions can only grow.
Even if combustion based power generation is not more efficient, the opportunity to capture the CO2 emissions is much greater in a stationary plant.
This is not a real concern here.
Burning coal to produce electricity that’s used in a car is more efficient (well to wheel) than burning petrol, and produces fewer emissions. By a little, and on average, of course.
Once battery tech evolves (the promised “solid state” batteries, for example) then all we need are small nuclear plants near airports.
I actually attended one of George Bye’s forums at Airventure … maybe as long as five years ago? At that time, he was prancing back and forth extolling the virtue of his eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4. He puts on a pretty good talk but … show me the airplanes, George !!
The following is directly from his website:
“Established in February 2014, the eFlyer program was created by Bye Aerospace to produce the two seat “eFlyer”, and for it to be fully certified under the new FAR 23 Amendment 64, and bring it to market. We intend to serve general aviation by providing a clean, renewable energy, electric training aircraft. As of April 2021 we have over 726 purchase deposits in our backlog, split evenly between the eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4. Check out the video of the eFlyer 2 prototype in flight below.”
As I remember it, before the eFlyer(s), he was going to put an electric engine and a battery pack into a C172 prior to the above. THAT never materialized. His first eFlyer was named the Sun Flyer … I guess he was gonna power it with PV solar panels ?? Then he’s got the eFlyer 2 and suddenly there’s an eFlyer 4. He says he’s holding 726 purchase deposits but … where the heck are the airplanes? As near as I can find, there’s only one airplane. Suddenly, he’s building a multi-motor airplane that’s gonna kick the King Air out of the box. He better deliver the 726 deposit holder airplanes before he starts flapping THIS kind of story. I think he’s full of … Bravo Sierra. George … FOCUS !!!!
Vaporware … INDEED !! Isn’t there a truth-in-advertising law ?? But hey … I’m sure the airplane is green and will save the planet?
If electric performs poorly on existing designs, it of course is because existing designs are not good enough for electric. So let’s try something DIFFERENT. Let’s pick a significantly more power demanding concept – a high wing/rotor disc loading aircraft.
If that doesn’t work, let’s try multiplying the power demand by mixing wings and rotors.
I just don’t see that much difference in power produced by a fuel fired power plant to be stored in rechargable batteries for later use versus power produced by a gas turbine and delivered directly for propulsion. I don’t buy the “no emissions” claim.
Done! … my pleasure. BTW: You didn’t read that I wanted this guy to fail; you read that I think he’s a con artist. These days, it’s easy to do a computer generated artist’s rendering and make outlandish claims; I wanna see airplanes on the ramp and flying. This guy hasn’t delivered previous airplanes and now he’s doing THIS? What’s next … a Space Rocket? Sigh.
Jim Bede did the same thing. Maybe you’re not old enough to know about him, Son? He designed a dozen airplanes but couldn’t bring any of them to market successfully. He even lost control of his own Company … American Aviation. I remember when his BD-5 was on the cover Popular Science circa 1971. He was going to put one in every garage for around $2,500. He ultimately collected ~5,100 $ deposits and at least actually DID deliver airframes but no engines. Nine million dollars disappeared in the process necessitating a cease and desist consent decree with the FTC to not take any aircraft deposits for a period of 10 years. Maybe ‘ol George is a devotee of Bede and/or history is repeating itself? But what do I know … I’m just a “boomer” with a historical perspective.
Most of the comments here are spot on. Many other difficulties were not even mentioned. As for solutions, we at Sea-Kite have always known the solution lies in producing electricity onboard while in flight. This is rapidly being used in the drone market. Battery power alone will NEVER be enough or practical. Investors and dreamers have swallowed the hook and many more are needed to keep the battery flight dream afloat. Wise investors however, look at results and not fantasies on a computer screen. These articles tend to put reality into question. So let’s be fair to the real progress made and those who have pioneered and made successful attempts to utilize electric power in aviation. All of these people never make the headlines, but let’s thank them for their real progress.
“… no CO2” ??? No electric vehicle is emission-free or CO2-free – it merely shifts the emissions, CO2, and toxic waste to an electrical generating plant, and 20+% of US electrical generating capacity is still produced with coal plants!
Exactly; I’m continuously stunned by the authors (aviation or otherwise) who print these claims of “no emissions” and “environmentally friendly”. This must be the same crowd who believes we shouldn’t hunt or fish because it is cruel or harmful, but buy meat and seafood over the counter instead. I honestly expect better of any authors who deem themselves knowledgeable about aviation and engineering – and am quite often disappointed.
WAIT! You mean I’m killing a cow when I eat a BigMac ??
2) Whatever happened to the nuclear powered aircraft?
3) I’m really getting tired of people putting down electric. The nuclear power station where my son works isn’t competitive, because, wait for it, the low cost of menthane fired power plants. But Menthane is a hydrocorbon. Want to cut down on carbon? Try clean nuclear power.
Some of these “dreams” might make it, others will not, because of funding.
4) The BD-5 is feasible. The original cost was not. I use “dirty” 2-cycle engines, and they do work.
Yesterday the White House committed to a 50 drop in CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. I am sure there will be lots of federal R&D money made available for projects like this.
Either that, or there will be 50% less drivers and vehicles because of the economic impact. 🙂
OMG, NO!!! Not something different! Not something new! How could it possibly work in the future, if it doesn’t work today?!
You guys crack me up.
When I graduated in 1988 with a degree in Aeronautical Engineering, there was much talk about spanloaders (aka flying wings with wing sections deep enough to load semis straight down the wingspan) and joined wing commercial transports (double V shaped wings joined at the tips).
Where are those versions flying now?
And those ideas were possible, using existing engine technology. The ideas didnt take off because the Howard Hughes and Jack Northrop types that dreamed big had been supplanted by bean counters that dreamed small, and wanted to keep cranking out the same recipe. Most people who have posted negative comments know that the energy density of electric batteries is about 1/50th of gasoline, and we are still a long way off from parity. Other than that electric powered planes are great.
The B-2 is the same dimensions as Jack’s flying wing, the YB-49, and about 70% of the span of a 747.
The difference between the two is that the B-2 had a whole lot more money, technology and time to improve.
If Jack had been a lot luckier, maybe it would have worked, but there were some crashes (and competition) and the Air Force pulled funding.
(The Germans made one rocket plane that somehow got the stability perfect, whereas the rest were simply dangerous to fly – basically luck.)
“Either that, or there will be 50% less drivers and vehicles because of the economic impact.”
I see a big opportunity in the futures market here–those that believe this is going to happen can invest–those that do NOT believe can “short” the futures. Anybody have a predictions on the odds of either of these “committments”?
In the meantime, the “alternative lifestyle” Mother Jones News still has plans for converting your car to a wood (charcoal) burner–just like Germany and Japan in WW II. On the other hand, it ISN’T “carbon neutral”–but it doesn’t use any of that horrible gasoline, either! (sarcasm)
Back to the “vaporware” discussion–I’d rather that AvWeb and Aviation Consumer stick to proven products (or at least those who have made substantial progress toward their promises) rather than clutter the site–after all, Aviation Consumer is all about debunking unproven products of questionable use. Leave the “Flying Cars are just around the corner” and “an airplane in every garage” to Popular Mechanics magazine.
I agree 200%, Jim. When and if Bye Aerospace starts producing eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4 airplanes and has a prototype eFlyer 800 ready for flight, it’s all bravo sierra. It has no place in Avweb. Your “flying cars” analogy is spot on. I want them to “show me the airplanes!” Methinks that George thinks he’s Elon’s brother … he ain’t.
So if electric motors for taxi use is such a great idea why haven’t the majors adopted the concept? They do things to gain very small improvement e.g. winglets, etc. The whole article is nothing but a wish list probably to generate funding from stupid people with more money than sense. Oh and don’t forget that they can also use those electric motors in the wheels to recharge the batteries while braking after landing, just like a Prius!!! This stuff is better published in Popular Mechanics. Shouldn’t we also see articles on each and all of the other entities that have promoted this kind of nonsense then gone Tango Uniform as a way to balance presentations such as these?
In the USAF, we tested sizeable winglets on the KC-135 at Edwards AFB. It was determined that the fuel savings would be about 4% which is HUGE on a fleet that big and flying that much. Yet … it was never adopted. There were two reasons. Mostly, the cost to modify the fleet and there wasn’t funding available. I’m certain that “the Generals” had other pet projects competing for those dollars, too. IMHO, they were penny wise and dollar foolish. BTW, Dale, THAT is why I brought up Jim Bede … exactly what you said.
Good thing the Internet didn’t exist back when those two crazy bicycle mechanics from Ohio thought they could build a machine that would fly!
Whew! In a land of “If I believe it therefore its true” can’t we extend a little bit towards our aviation versus all for our cultural battlefields?
Yeah- If I’m a betting person I’d say George Bye might be more in the line of Trevor Milton than Elon Musk but that’s the beauty of the free market. If Bye aerospace can actually make this work then this could be a revolutionary design; imagine the ability for feeder airlines in small airports opening up new markets for both airlines and charters. Really unlikely? Yes- but in order to advance you do need some dreamers in the realm.
So; I give kudos to Bye Aerospace for leaning into this. Likely it isn’t them who is going to crack this nut but eventually, through regulation or economic pressures (or both), the reign of Lyclosaurous will come to an end. I’m glad someone is dreaming about pushing aviation forward with a bit of reckless “why not” ’cause with the bunch of whiners in this comments section we ain’t going nowhere.
It’s amazing to me how short sighted and uneducated so many of the comments here still are. I have been driving a Tesla (sorry, I know that’s another trigger word for a lot of people) for eight years and 160k miles. It runs on solar power generated on my roof. It’s fully charged every morning for free. CO2 emitted, almost zero (I supercharge on long trips and some of that power was probably generated burning coal). Cost of maintenance, ditto (mostly tires). My V8 Vantage Aston Martin is beautiful. Sounds, smells (leather) feels and goes great. Fun to drive on the track (not as quick off the line as the Tesla though) and I love it. Thing is, one does not exclude the other. But I don’t like burning fuel or paying for it (or maintenance, $4,000+ for a new clutch) so the Tesla is my daily driver and the snarling beast is let loose on special occasions. Electric cars are just better almost all the time, in almost every way. Aircraft are close behind. No one needs to feel threatened by that. No need to get worked up. If you don’t want one, don’t buy one. On the other hand, I want to fly smoother, quieter, cheaper and more reliably so I’m looking forward to putting solar on my hangar roof too.
I’m inclined to believe you. I suspect that a fair number of flights take place on a weekend, with the aircraft returning to its hangar. It’s a perfect time to enjoy battery-powered flying whilst the engineers improve battery life for larger aircraft. The solar panels on the hangar roof charge the aircraft and a storage battery during the week, supplying enough energy for the weekend. The cost of a storage battery would probably be less than the engine overhaul which you won’t be doing.
Although I am opposed to electric cars, and hope to never be forced into one, I DO see the appeal and advantages to people who just want transportation and are not interested in cars per se. You are an outlier in as much as since you have the pleasure of owning and driving a Aston I assume there is still a part of your personality that likes cars.
With that said I am opposed to Tesla. The high prices they charge for poor quality and engineering is criminal.
False promises and misleading claims, safety issues like battery mediated infernos that last hours or days at a time, and ‘autopilots’ that drive into police cars, houses, fire trucks, semis, etc. only add to my distain.
The fact Elon has grifted millions and billions off the government, the taxpayer, and his buyers only adds to this debacle. Bumpers falling off new cars, battery failures that cost the price of a new car to replace, motor failures, poor fitting panels, abysmal 1980’s level Hyundai interiors, ugly ass exteriors (the S excepted, that one is OK, although outdated not at 9 years with no substantive changes).
With that said a morbidly obese electric car with 1,000 pound battery pack can still waddle thorough traffic, but such an overweight aircraft won’t fly. The technology is not there. The physics is not there. The motor is not the problem, it’s the battery.
Just the other day when I was at Sun n Fun, I spent a nite with an old retired airline pilot close buddy of mine nearby. He had a golf cart in the garage that he said stopped working. So I took a look at it and determined that battery terminal corrosion was the likely culprit and volunteered to see if I could make it work … I did. The thing had six, eight volt batteries which can’t be cheap. One or more of them was sick, too. So when the things are working, they’re fine. But they take maintenance which most people don’t do. When the batteries poop out, they’re boat anchors. In The Villages, FL, they have over 60 miles of golf cart trails and near everyone has a golf cart. THOUSANDS of them. I stopped in a golf cart store to chat and asked whether people preferred electric or gas carts … the answer … GAS by a HUGE preponderance for exactly the above reason.
It’s everyone’s right to believe or not believe that electric transportation power is the “future.” For me, it isn’t. That said, I live in a place where an electric urban use car might be practical IF it were priced correctly. I might even have one? In like manner, I can see a place for a two seat electric training airplane for use in the pattern or close by. But trying to convince me that a two motor eight place electric airplane is gonna be the future … give me a break BOTH George Bye and Avweb for printing this dribble. Even Erik Lindberg gave up on electric powered urban air mobility; he and his ERAU PhD consultant are now focusing their efforts on the drive system. Good for them. Once they get THAT problem and the energy problem solved, THEN it’ll be time to print articles like this and make claims such as Bye Aerospace AND deliver real airplanes I can use.
Hi All. This is a reminder to please keep comments respectful. Those that aren’t will be deleted.
I can’t believe all the negativity out here. Operating costs have been slowly strangling GA all over the world. And as bad as you think it might be in the US, other countries with higher fuel prices have it worse. Electric aircraft have the potential to reduce those substantially. Yeah battery technology needs to catch up, but there’s no reason to think it won’t eventually. Cheaper flying is what aviation needs, desperately, in order to get more people flying and more political allies.
I do believe that most comments here ARE respectful–but the issues in play here include (but are NOT limited to:
1. Is this project viable, or “vaporware?” That’s an opinion–and this is an opinion section–fair game, as long as it it “respectful.”
2. What are the chances of electric aircraft actually coming to fruition–by ANY manufacturer?
3. Discussion of what people believe will work and what will not. AvWeb had a discussion of the Pipistrel electric motor glider. I believe that WILL work–it HAS worked for years with other motor gliders–but that isn’t General Aviation–it is limited to motor gliders. The discussion on what will and will not likely work is fair game.
4. A discussion on whether Bye can actually bring this to market. This isn’t controversial–the facts are to be found in its own website, and Wikipedia. Bye hasn’t certified a single aircraft yet–his “hoping to certify the aircraft by 2024 or 2025” (3 or 4 years) is a pipe dream, and undermines credibility. Even major manufacturers with fully staffed engineering and production facilities can’t do that.
5. Do these outrageous claims help or hurt the industry? General Aviation has seen its credibility impugned in the marketplace and the capital investment markets over the years with unfounded claims. LOOK at all of the “wannabees” that have made similar claims–the latest being Terrafugia–after burning through deposits, investors, and over a DECADE of development. How many OTHER unfounded and unfunded firms can you list? Most pilots remember Bede Aircraft–and that fiasco has hurt GA development, AS WELL as the investment and pre-sale market.
6. Then there is AvWeb and Aviation Consumer itself. These sites are the “Gold Standard” for debunking false or unproven claims. It does no good for that sterling reputation to give press space and credibility to prospective projects like these that don’t even have engine/drive train/battery systems selected yet? How can any rational person believe that the company can accurately project performance figures without a final design? As I suggested, perhaps these would-be “press releases” should be relegated to a separate “On the Drawing Board” section–saving editorial space for “News you can USE”.
7. If you can’t tell, this is one of the more contentious threads I’ve seen on AvWeb for a LONG time–you’ve “angered the inmates” by giving space not only to Bye, but other “vaporware.” Your most loyal readers are telling you something.
8. Recognize that “you are not alone” in publishing the press release. I’ve seen similar press releases throughout the industry, but most of those have similar content, but most of them ALSO have a codicil that cautions that Bye has never produced a certified aircraft or design.
9. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH PAUL BERTORELLI? (smile) For all of the years I’ve been subscribing to Aviation Consumer, I could count on Paul Bertorelli to wade through the “pie in the sky” claims by applying his trained cynical litmus test as the industry Aviation Curmudgeon–separating claims from fact. One of the things I like about Aviation Consumer is that it does NOT depend on aviation advertising–it can “tell it like it is.”
Thank you for hosting this “aviation sandbox”–where we all get to gather, gripe, and grin!
OMG, Jim. I just came in from washing a vehicle to see what I’d see. While working, I was thinking just about everything you’ve already written … ESPECIALLY #6 and #7. Good job.
Like you, I come to Avweb each and every day (first on my list of URL’s to seek) to learn, be kept up to date, to have a place to “gather, gripe and grin” and — in general — stay abreast of all things aviation. I, too, consider Avweb THE gold standard. So I would suggest to them — in reverse — read what Jim wrote and consider these points each and every time you put an article on here that is going out world wide. Aviation — especially General Aviation — doesn’t need any more Jim Bede’s but DOES need more Elon Musk’s … even if he is in love with electrons.
Perhaps Avweb needs a journalistic “litmus test” checklist prior to publishing? Don’t print fiction unless you plainly ID it as such. If Bye Aerospace paid for this article to be published … fine … tell us. If you printed it just because you saw it or he sent it in … shame on you for not doing fact checking first. I’m certain I can speak for most of the commenters here — whether we agree or disagree with each other — that we understand Avweb survives by paid advertisements. But there’s a second side to that … WE, the readers. WE are the ones who take what you write and subsequently spend our hard earned dollars on airplanes and the trinkets and beads that go into them. WE make the advertisers come to you as a place to disseminate their wares. So keep that in mind as your “test.” Trust your senior citizen “airmen” to keep you real, too. Just because we’re outspoken doesn’t mean we mean to be overtly disrespectful … as Jim says.
I’ll thank Avweb, too. I appreciate what ALL of what you do more than you know. The alternatives … not so much. Now then, I have to go solve a problem on the X-57 Maxwell; one of it’s 14 motors isn’t working so good and my call sign is “Sparky.” 🙂
At least notional musings about transport-level electrics give us vaporware articles that seem fresher than yet another flying car announcement.
And who knows, maybe that affordable and durable miracle battery with the needed 20 to 50X increase in energy density that also accepts charge as fast as you can supply it IS just around the corner, along with clean fusion power to stoke it all. In the meantime, the comment flows provide insight into human mental predilections, a subject educational & entertaining in itself.
To no one in particular.. “Lighten Up Francis”