Sun Flyer Prototype On Assembly Line

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Assembly has begun on the first prototype of Aero Electric's Sun Flyer training airplanes, the company announced Monday. Aero said it has contracted with Arion Aircraft of Shelbyville, Tennessee, to build the airplane, which they plan to develop into what may be the first FAA-certified, all-electric aircraft. Arion produces the LS-1 Lightning light sport airplane. "After extensive analysis of the options available for this critical phase of the development process, we have selected a company that offers a flexible, high-quality process for the assembly of this first two-seat prototype," said George Bye, CEO of Aero Electric. "Our current schedule has initial R&D flight test operations beginning before year-end."

Aero Electric is targeting flight training markets for the Sun Flyer and will start with the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology of Denver, which has signed an agreement to buy 20 of the trainers. Aero also is collaborating with Redbird Flight Simulations to offer a training program. The Sun Flyer, first unveiled in 2014, will offer a flight-training endurance of about three hours at an energy cost of about $1 an hour. It will be equipped with quick-change battery packs and wing-mounted solar cells that generate about 15 to 20 percent of the aircraft's low-speed cruise power requirement.