Siemens Electric Motor Will Power Sun Flyer 2

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The Sun Flyer 2, an electric two-seat trainer in development by Bye Aerospace in Denver, will be powered by a Siemens SP70D motor, Bye announced on Tuesday. “The Siemens motor provides great performance and all of the propulsion energy required for normal flight training profiles,” CEO George Bye told AVweb in an email. “The batteries give us stored energy for over three hours of flight time plus VFR reserves. We’re in great shape for the primary training mission.” Bye also said Siemens will be “an active partner” in the project through FAA certification and production. Bye Aerospace is pursuing Part 23 certification for the aircraft, which is now available for electric powerplants under the revisions that took effect last year. Light sport aircraft, such as Pipistrel’s Electro, are still unable to overcome the FAA’s wording in its rules that LSA aircraft must be powered by a “reciprocating engine.”

Frank Anton, head of eAircraft for Siemens, said the SP70D motor has been specifically designed for the needs of two-seat flight trainers. “We know that safety, performance and cost of electric propulsion in the flight training market will be game-changing,” he said. The SP70D motor will operate with a 90kW peak (115 HP), and a continuous rating of 70kW (90 HP), according to Siemens. The design is derived from the SP45D, which has accumulated about 300 flight hours.

Comments (12)

Three hours flight time plus reserves? How big is that battery pack? Any useful load left?

Also, once again, the FAA's archaic and overly restrictive LSA rules stand in the way of meaningful progress toward new aircraft designs. Maybe it's time for AOPA and EAA to pick that up as their cause for this year. Start a petition at Oshkosh asking for an LSA rewrite like they did for Basic Med.

Posted by: John McNamee | May 29, 2018 11:39 AM    Report this comment

Good luck to these pioneers. Hope it works out.

Posted by: JAMES MILLER | May 29, 2018 3:03 PM    Report this comment

115 horsepower is close to the desired number (125 hp), IF the vehicle has a Part-23-compliant useful load of at least 450 pounds. We need more details...

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | May 29, 2018 3:10 PM    Report this comment

YARS --- website says 440 payload for crew.

Posted by: JAMES MILLER | May 29, 2018 5:26 PM    Report this comment

Thanks for that info. If theg can deliver a 15-minute turn time, they could have a contendah!

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | May 29, 2018 6:44 PM    Report this comment

John ... the last two years at the EAA Membership meeting at Airventure, I personally addressed Jack Pelton on allied issues. I plan to do that again this year. He seems sympathetic but I think EAA doesn't want to do anything adversarial with the FAA. THAT is the problem. Once in a while, a four letter expletive IS required and a firm stance needed.

All that work on the FAR Part 23 rewrite and what popped out doesn't do a damned thing for legacy airplanes and half of the work was ignored. The ARC team even provided rewritten suggested Part 23 language yet the FAA ignored it. THEN ... they had the (expletive deleted) to claim rewriting the Regs would take too long. Maybe they can't read?

I seriously doubt if this SunFlyer can do what they're claiming and still meet LSA rules. Maybe they've found some super new Hecho en China "D" cells? Maybe it carries a wind generator to recapture energy :-) ? In Oshkosh recently, I found six Telsa recharging stations in a food store parking lot. I doubt if there's that many of 'em in Oshkosh. Maybe the Sun Flyer could land there and use the Tesla recharging stations which are substantial infrastructure installed but not used.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | May 30, 2018 1:36 AM    Report this comment

Inspired by Miller, I visited the website. They're claiming 1,050 fpm climb at 1,900 pounds, on 115 hp. As a reality check, my 125 hp Tomahawk delivers 850 fpm at 1,670 pounds. Their required lift/drag numbers are quite remarkable.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | May 30, 2018 8:25 AM    Report this comment

Larry, to be clear, they are not pursuing LSA certification for this airplane, but working under the new Part 23 rules.

Posted by: Mary Grady | May 30, 2018 10:12 AM    Report this comment

Primary training is still best served with MoGas powered O-320's.
Simple, reliable, long endurance, quick turn-around time, and fuel is everywhere on the planet.

Why people think that coal/gas fired electric plants are "better" somehow is kinda silly. Why people think that electric aviation is great for fast turn around renting (of for students needing a charge on an XC) is also a bit unrealistic.

Posted by: Mark Fraser | May 30, 2018 10:38 AM    Report this comment

Thanks, Mary.

That is MY position, too, Mark. A few years ago, diesels were the 'darling' of European aviation ... now the particulates offends them? People think plugging in an electric anything into a socket providing electrons is somehow "green" or saving the planet. It ain't. It's just transferring the point of emissions. And at every conversion ... it's less than 100% efficient.

Unless George Bye has discovered some new battery technology ... this idea is just another form of motive power and not much more. It's a gimmick. As an A&P, I call the O-320 the 'iron duke' of airplane engines. I have a 50 year old engine in a PA28-140 which has 2200 hours on it and has never been apart. THAT says everything you need to know about 'em. If the FAA would just allow full electronic ignition systems on certificated airplanes, fuel economy would go up, range would be extended and the planet could live happily ever after. There are other mods which could increase power and save energy as well.

Posted by: Larry Stencel | May 30, 2018 3:16 PM    Report this comment

Sounds great but unless they've got a radically more efficient battery chemistry I'm calling BS on 3 plus hours of endurance. Love to be wrong.

Few still deny there is a problem with pollution but it's the numbers that make a business worth it, or not. What is the TCO compared to the tried and tested? What does a day and a week of all-day ops look like?

As for lower polluting sources of electricity, they've been available via a power bill and through the grid for over a decade. That's no longer a valid argument.

Posted by: Cosmo Adsett | June 1, 2018 12:08 AM    Report this comment

Gentle reminder: All grid power is fungible. You may think that you're buying "clean power," but if your power transmission company's juice is 90% sourced from coal, so is yours. Teslas are largely-coal-powered cars.

Posted by: YARS (Tom Yarsley) | June 1, 2018 6:05 AM    Report this comment

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