Skyborne Flight Academy Inks LOI for 30 More Bye eFlyer Trainers


Electric aircraft developer Bye Aerospace has announced that Skyborne Airline Academy has signed a letter of intent to acquire an additional 30 eFlyer aircraft. With bases in Vero Beach, Florida, and Gloucestershire, U.K., the academy now has an interest in 40 Bye aircraft.

Bye now claims commitments for 889 eFlyer 2 and eFlyer 4 aircraft valued at an estimated $570 million. Bye Aerospace claims the total order book for its “complete aviation line” now exceeds $1.4 billion.

Skyborne Airline Academy CEO Lee Woodward said, “By investing in Bye’s eFlyer aircraft, we will reduce our impact on the environment and support our airline partners with their sustainability goals. We’re proud to expand our order arrangement and look forward to seeing the eFlyer at Skyborne.”

Bye said it intends to produce its first eFlyer within the next 12 months, with FAA certification expected in 2025. Customer deliveries would “immediately follow.”

Mark Phelps
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.


  1. How can Bye be taking orders for still anoter ‘e’ airplane? He hasn’t delivered the Quick eEngine change he promised me for my 172 10 years ago ???

    • I’d like to see a comparison between the remaining known fossil fuel reserves and the reserves of scarce battery-making metals based on projected demands. Future Lithium Wars may make us wish we had depleted the alternatives first.

      • Excellent question. Likewise an end-to-end comparison of the energy required to find, mine, process, continually recharge and afterward recycle all those batteries and associated items necessary to make one of those contraptions work. I wish you all here coulda heard the tap dancing of the NASA Armstrong X-57 Maxwell team that spent $250M on that airplane and all the taxpayers got in return was … nothing.

  2. $640,000 per airplane. Fossil-fuel powered batteries. Carbon fiber and epoxy derived from petroleum. Rare earth materials in batteries mined and produced by Communist Chinese with child labor. What’s there to praise about this effort?

  3. Why are their so many negative comments on new technology. Sniffed too much 100LL? I have an electric car and regularly drive 90 miles round trip to where my club plane is hangared. It costs me less than 3 cents a mile to drive. In almost 80,000 miles of driving, the only maintenance other than tires has been to replace the rear wiper blade. No oil changes or any other scheduled maintenance. The arguments for electric aircraft are the same — lower operating costs. Yes, the range is not there yet for cross country flying and there needs to be more airports with charging facilities but this is going to happen and not just to be “green”. Economics are the best driver.

    • “Economics are the best driver.” Exactly, now carry that thought through the entire operating life of electric aircraft, training aircraft specifically.

      • Tom, I’m not sure whether your remark was meant to be pro or con, but based on the operating cost of my electric car, I expect the economic driver for an electric training aircraft will be that it is so close to “free” that they will need a new billing paradigm for flight schools other than the traditional hour meter.

        • I’ve had four Tesla’s and my wife still has one. I currently have an F-250 and am on the waiting list for the Cybertruck. I think I know a little bit about EV’s. I love them and fully understand their limitaions and advantages that for some reason most people like to gloss over like not having to go to a gas station, ever. Huge advantage for my wife and I. My wife wakes up every morning with an 80 percent charge of 250 miles.

          Last week my wife drove from Cleveland to Toledo. Single digit temperatures and yes, there was about a 30 percent drop off in milage because of the cold. People have a tendency to forget where all of that energy comes from to heat not only the air in the car, but, your butt and steering wheel also. Oh and by the way, you can’t run your battery down and let it sit out in the cold expecting to get a full charge the next day. The battery does require conditioning that does require power to accomplish. If you cannot condition your battery you will have problems. All of the negative news coverage during the last cold spell about EV’s was basically no one charging overnight at home and the following morning expecting to show up at a supercharger filling up as if you were actually going to a gas station. Most if not all of the people that had problems just did not fully understand how their EV’s operate. EV’s do not operate the same as internal combustion vehicles. EV’s have their place. Once you understand that you will experience Nirvana.

          There are many limitations I see with utilizing electric propulsion for airplanes. I will itemize them for you.
          1. weight.
          2. weight.
          3. weight.
          4. more weight.
          5. and more weight.
          I’m sure there are many more, but those are just a few.

          The same thing applies to diesel’s. Sure, you can put them on an airplane and the airplane will fly just ask Diamond. I have flown them. I know how they fly. They are dogs with wings. I also understand the other valid reasoning’s for putting a diesel on an airplane. Again, knock yourself out. They are not for me. I will not trade off performance for dead weight.

          • By the way. If you think you are saving the environment by going electric you are gravely mistaken. Just follow the life cycle of an EV and see what the environmental cost are. EV’s are basically for rich people like me who are more concerned with convenience than the environment.
            In addition to home charging for an EV being mandatory if you want to experience any of the advantages. You also would be wise to have a home generating system large enough to handle all of the power full operation of your house will require in addition to all EV’s owned in the event in a power outage due to our failing infrastructure which is guaranteed to happen. 48 kw for me.

    • It’s not negative comments on just any ‘new technology’. It’s just about battery electric aircraft powertrains which are 40x heavier at system level than hydrocarbon powertrains. Invariably falsely compared to automobiles sitting on tires and not expending energy, aircraft have to expend energy to keep their weight in the air. Use patterns that reward regeneration also do not exist.

      Even the cost analyses use inappropriate $/kwh. Once the greenies control power generation this cost skyrockets. California residential power is $.40/kwh vs $.12/kwh average elsewhere and their grid regularly has brownouts and catches on fire, one of the many reasons I left.

  4. Jay Leno said it right. The best of old technology is better than the best of new technology.

    That being said, I’m not against new technology. I’m against it being shoved down my throat. I purposely bought my car with a gasoline engine. I’m on call with my job, and I can take it cross country at anytime. No can do with anything else.

    Same holds true with aircraft.

  5. I started working on electric vehicles over 30 years ago when the best available was 30 to 40 miles range when the weather was warm, and 10 miles when it was cold. We could have quit then, but we didn’t.
    New technologies have always traveled a challenging road. In the latter 1800’s bicycles faced cultural and legal hurdles. In some parts of Europe bicycles were confiscated and destroyed by law enforcement. For a period, Karl Benz was forbidden to take his invention onto public streets. Where would we be today if the engineers quit? Horses? In the 1890’s there was an average of 3,000 old horses left dead each day on the streets of New York.
    With regard to Bye offering Quick eEngines for C-172’s, I managed that engineering team back then. The 172 airframe was really not acceptable for electric propulsion because it is too inefficient. Our prototype had a theoretical useful range of twice around the pattern. Buyers would not have been happy.
    Give the nascent electric aircraft industry another 20 or 30 years, and they’ll be mainstream.

    • Fair enough for your truthful comment on the 172 eEngine QEC, Carl. But here’s the point…’ol George was prancing around promising all manner of things with that QEC whenever it was the idea du jour. MOST of these ideas are nothing more than vaporware OR delusional goals of people that have access to more capital than skills to deliver. Some of his claims appeared right here on Avweb. I went to a couple of his forums at Airventure; the only thing missing was dancing girls and free drinks. NUTTY!
      It’s about time that people figure out that — aside from very aerodynamically efficient airframes used for specific low demand missions — electric power in airplanes is decades away. Electric cars — despite all the negative hype over range anxiety, charging times and availability, cold weather range and more — are one thing … you can pull over and hail an Uber. With an airplane … not so much.

  6. I don’t think Bye is doing themselves any favours with their fake it till you make it approach. I think there is absolutely a viable niche for electric airplanes in flight training given their A to A and 1 to 1.5 hour typical flights.

    What is going to drive the change is money. I have flown a Pipstrel Velis Electro. It is not quite there on the endurance front but the potential is obvious. My 0.9 flight cost about $ 1.50 in electricity. After 100 hours it doesn’t need $150 dollars worth of oil and filters. It doesn’t need a 500hr mag inspection, or the various blanket engine accessory AD’s required by a Lycoming or Continental. With each cost increase in fuel and parts for legacy piston airplanes the cost curve bends further towards an electric trainer.

    As a bonus the Velis fly over noise footprint at pattern altitude is 10db lower. You can barely hear it which is a huge thing given all the NIMBY noise complaints at many airports.

  7. How irritating will it be for future students at this flight book flight time in 20 minutes increments? This whole eplane nonsense is so stupid it’s almost funny

  8. As an FBO, we get questions from new students asking about “electric trainers.” Tired of explaining the facts of life for electric trainers (initial cost, decreased utility because of charging time–lack of range (either VFR or IFR), lack of infrastructure limiting useable airports, lack of mature manufacturers with demonstrated staying power in the industry, they usually come back with “It will come, (someday).

    I usually tell them that we would be glad to put one on the line if the proponent would lease it to us. That usually ends the discussion.

    (post-script)–we’ve heard it all before–the myth of the “affordable airplane._I pull out my Aircraft Dealer “Bluebook”, and show them the 1971 Champion 7 ACA–the model retailed for only $4995–it featured a Franklin 60 hp 2 cylinder engine. The 7 ECA sold for only $1500 more–and it had a Lycoming o-235 with 115 hp. The “cheap Everyman’s Airplane” sold only 71 units (and most of those were eventually upgraded to the Lycoming).

    The dream of the “affordable low-cost airplane” is just that–a dream–the closest you’ll get to it is to build it yourself (or from a kit).