Aero 2016: Smaller, But Busy


As the Aero shows opens today in Friedrichshafen, Germany, organizers are looking for a smaller show—down about 40 exhibitors—but a busy one. AVweb’s preview of the show schedule Tuesday revealed a full day of conferences and announcements, including new product information from Continental Motors, Daher, Jeppesen and Siemens. Aero’s Roland Bosch told AVweb Tuesday that one reason for the smaller number of exhibitors is that glider manufacturers display every other year and were last here in 2015. But some companies, and Diamond Aircraft is one, also attend Aero every other year, as they did when the show was held on that schedule.

For the 2016 event, we expect much focus to be on Siemens, whose ambitious programs into electric aircraft will be front and center in the main entrance hall area. Already on display is the HYPSTAIR hybrid drive project, an innovative marriage of a Rotax 914 engine with a powerful Siemens electric motor and generator set. But that’s not the only hybrid on display here. A company called Eurosport Aircraft is showing another hybrid project, the Crossover, that also uses a Rotax engine plus batteries to drive a pair of electric motors in a pusher arrangement.

Another intriguing airplane that appears to come from the Siemens skunk works is an Extra 330 fitted with a 260-kW brushless DC motor—that’s a little over 350 HP—and a giant battery pack between the conventional firewall and the electric motor. We hope to learn more details about these projects as the week progresses. Stay tuned to AVweb for regular news and video coverage.