Bye Energy’s Hybrid Powerplant Aspirations


Bye Energy’s George Bye (formerly of ATG) tells AVweb that some of Thursday’s general media news coverage regarding his company’s future electric hybrid aircraft propulsion plans may have been misleading. Thursday Bye Energy announced “The Green Flight Project” and Bye displayed a mockup of what he described as a 90-pound, 168-hp electric propulsion unit and said his company was working to produce a proof of concept model. Completion of that design, according to local reports, would take about eight months and a roughly $1 million investment. Friday, Bye told AVweb that the potential products he described the prior day may be different from the proof of concept model he hopes to produce by year-end. In the long term, Bye hopes to organize technological partners that could one day produce an aircraft that collects solar energy from photovoltaic wing panels to supplement the future aircraft’s battery/fossil fuel hybrid powerplant. But by year-end, he expects to have a product with specifications dictated by its development. That said, Bye believes hybrid technology could one day significantly lower operating costs while reducing emissions, noise and maintenance requirements. And that thinking has not been unique to Bye Energy.

Aside from Bye, German manufacturer Flight Design (which produces the popular CT-series of Light Sport Aircraft) announced at 2009’s AirVenture Oshkosh its plans to develop from a standard Rotax 914 engine an electric-augmented powerplant. That design would use the electric motor for bursts of power to supplement power at takeoff to the tune of an extra 40 hp, according to the company. Flying in cruise, the combustion engine would work to recharge the motor’s batteries with “negligible” resistance translated to the crankshaft, said the company. Flight Design has made little news with its hybrid since last summer.