A look at the soon-to-be surge in Electrified Aircraft

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GREEN AVIATION means non-fossil fuel

ELECTRIC Power holds great promise particularly in the Regional Markets

SNAPSHOT now: FIVE OEMs and THREE CARRIERS lined up

 

Electrified aircraft[1] are not on a distant horizon; they are nosing into the immediate futureseveral manufacturers and operators predict that they will be flying as early as 2024, according to the below AINonline article!!!

The marketplace is already WELL ESTABLISHED with FIVE manufacturers in the development of non-fossil fuel aircraft—all regional planes (referred by some as Regional Air Mobility vehicles [RAM]). Three operators are lined up for these green aircraft and their plans are the second set of article (below)

Here are some prominent products:.


OEMs

airflow Eplane

 

Having many smaller airports rather than a single big one provides for a much more efficient flow of cargo and people. We can now consider operating from unused open areas, piers, helipads, dirt roads, and fields rather than driving to an airport and fighting the delays there…

It turns out there is an alternative that is simpler, with lower development cost and risk and is less than half the operating cost of an eVTOL. We propose that electric Short Takeoff and Landing (eSTOL— pronounced “e-stole”) aircraft are also suitable for UAM missions.

We started Airflow.aero to develop and commercialize eSTOL technology and offer transportation services that simply don’t exist with today’s commercial aircraft.

 

 

Future Flight

future of mobility

The unnamed aircraft is intended to be operated from short landing strips of just 300 feet in length. Airflow said it will actually only require around 150 feet for takeoff.

The company intends to develop what it calls an “aerial logistics network” for moving cargo between warehouses and distribution points with so-called “middle mile” trips of between around 50 and 250 miles, and at speeds of up to around 115 mph. It believes it can provide more efficient freight transportation than trucks.

Initially, Airflow’s eSTOL is intended for single-pilot operations and will be able to carry a payload of 500 pounds in a 90-cu-ft cabin. Airflow claims that it will be operated at around one-third of the average hourly cost of a comparable helicopter or one of the new eVTOL aircraft now under development.

According to co-founder and CEO Marc Ausman[2], Airflow believes it will only need around $200 million for development and certification costs. It estimates that the equivalent amount needed for an eVTOL aircraft is around $700 million.

The design concept unveiled on June 10 shows 10 propellers on the leading edge of the wing and a single pusher propeller at the rear of the fuselage. Airflow is evaluating several different concepts with the final configuration to be reflected in a full-scale prototype that is expected to fly around mid-2023.

Svtol

 

 

 

 

DASH 8

Pratt & Whitney Canada is partnering with De Havilland of Canada in a program to test hybrid-electric propulsion technology in a Dash 8-100 flight demonstrator, the engine company said Thursday. Expected to undergo ground testing next year and fly in 2024, the demonstrator will include an electric motor and controller from fellow Raytheon Technologies unit Collins Aerospace. The governments of Canada and Quebec have committed to contributing roughly half of the total C$163 million investment the program will require.

 

 

Eviation

… a nine-passenger, two-crew member aircraft, produces no carbon emissions, significantly reduces noise, and costs a fraction to operate per flight hour. The aircraft is powered by two magni650magnix electric propulsion units from magniX, the only flight proven electric propulsion systems at this scale.

The advanced fly-by-wire system is made by Honeywell, the market leader in such systems. The single-volume, high-energy density Alice battery system is made from currently available battery cells and is not reliant on future advancements. These proven technologies and design elements make it easy and reliable for pilots to seamlessly transition to flying the Alice and will create a superior passenger flying experience, accelerating the aircraft’s path to market.

eviation logo

Eviation promises a top speed of 253 mph (407 km/h) and a maximum range of 440 nautical miles, or about 506 miles (814 km), after a full charge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GRAND CARAVAN

The CESSNA GRAND CARAVAN EX aircraft is known for its dependable and efficient performance by regional airlines, charter operators and cargo carriers worldwide. The Grand Caravan EX turboprop was engineered for challenging missions, high payloads and short, rough runways while delivering single-engine economy and simplicity.

[SURF AIR {BELOW} plans to STC a hybrid-electric propulsion system to the existing Cessna plane,]

 

TECHNAM

Tecnam is partnering with Rolls-Royce to develop an all-electric, nine-passenger aircraft known as the P-Volt. In an October 23 announcement, the Italian light aircraft manufacturer said that the new model will be ready to enter commercial service on scheduled operations on short- to medium-range routes during the second half of the 2020s.

According to Tecnam, the P-Volt program will “build on the experience” gained developing the P2012 Traveller twin-piston aircraft, which was delivered to U.S. launch customer Cape Air in October 2019, having gained both EASA and FAA type certification under Part 23 rules.

TECNAM LOGO

 

 

 


OPERATORS:

 

CAPE AIR ALICE

Cape Air’s proposed fleet of Eviation Alice electric aircraft could enter service in 2023 on scheduled routes connecting Boston and the Massachusetts communities of Martha’s Vineyard and NantucketDAN WOLF as well as linking Nantucket with Hyannis, the operator’s CEO, Dan Wolf, revealed on July 21 during the Electric Aircraft Symposium.

 

Cape Air’s Wolf stressed the need to understand the technical hurdles of introducing a new aircraft to service, particularly one based on new technology such as electric propulsion. “We need to be cognizant of the challenges of the first one to three years of how that aircraft is going to be supported and how we’re going to launch that [equipment] into commercial use,” he said “ It has to be launched with somebody who has the experience and a history of being able to do that.”

 

Rvn airflow

 

Ravn Alaska said it will buy 50 electric planes from the California-based company Airflow when they come onto the market. Airflow’s planes will use batteries instead of gas to power their engines.

But first, the company has to finalize its aircraft design. Airflow CEO Marc Ausman said he hopes to have Airflow’s planes ready for service by 2025.

…Ausman said they will be able to fit nine passengers each. They’re not meant to replace Ravn’s existing airplanes, which are larger, Dash-8 planes

 

Surf Air Mobility has committed to buying up to 150 Cessna Grand Caravan EX single-engine utility turboprop aircraft from Textron Aviation and plans to replace their Pratt & Whitney PT6 turbine engines with hybrid-electric propulsion systems beginning in 2024Xwing

For now, the deal does not appear to mark a direct initiative by the Textron group to offer hybrid- or electric propulsion alternatives to its piston- and turboprop-powered aircraft. Despite having recently formed a new eAviation electric aviation division earlier this year, the company seems content for customers like Surf Air and their partners to take a lead in the electrification process.

Surf Air Mobility plans to develop a hybrid-electric propulsion system and will seek an FAA supplemental type certificate (STC) to install the system in its Caravan fleet. The powertrain will use a turbo-generator to charge batteries that run an electric motor-driven propeller. Surf Air Mobility is still in discussions with manufacturers of electric motors, the turbo-generator, and batteries, according to Surf Air Mobility chairman and CEO Sudhin Shahani.

Surf Air Mobility acquired hybrid-electric aircraft developer Ampaire earlier this year and it will drive the technological development of the hybrid-electric Caravan STC. Ampaire has demonstrated the Electric EEL, a hybrid-electric conversion of a Cessna 337 Skymaster in which one of the airplane’s two piston engines is replaced with an electric powerplant. Ampaire also had planned to develop hybrid-electric propulsion for the De Havilland Twin Otter and Grand Caravan. The company hasn’t applied to the FAA yet for the Caravan STC, but this should happen soon, Shahani said.


Electrification, Automation Could Transform Regional Air Service

by Charles Alcock

grand caravan

 

– July 21, 2021, 9:15 AM

Xwing aims to operate aircraft such as the Cessna Grand Caravan on commercial cargo and passenger services using its autonomous flight technology. (Photo: Xwing)

New propulsion systems and technologies such as autonomous flight controls have the potential to support transformative business models for regional air service, according to a trio of experts addressing this week’s Electric Aircraft Symposium (EAS) organized by the CAFE Foundation and the Vertical Flight Society.

CAFE poster

Beyond the prospect of electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft operating from vertiports across urban areas, the panelists painted a picture of new and converted fixed-wing aircraft with small numbers of passengers covering routes of up to about 250 miles that wouldn’t turn a profit under traditional airline business models.

For example, Xwing is a California-based start-up looking to launch commercial freight and, eventually, passenger services, with aircraft such as the Cessna Grand Caravan that it is fitting with itsKevin Atcliff xwing autonomous flight systems. Product manager Kevin Atcliff told the EAS that its plans include the use of aircraft with 20 or fewer passengers or with an equivalent cargo payload.

Until recently, Atcliff worked with NASA and helped to produce its April 2021 white paperRegional Air Mobility: Leveraging Our National Investments to Energize the American Travel Experience. He claimed that removing the need for pilots could cut operating costs by around 40 percent, with a further 25 percent reduction resulting from a switch from turbine engines to electric propulsion.

In Xwing’s view, autonomous operations could double utilization for some aircraft, producing further savings based on a better return on assets, and reduced insurance costs. That would make it viable for operators to serve many more of the 5,000 public airports across the U.S, and potentially some of the 14,000 private airfields, too.

map of potential RAM landing sites

 

Since last year, Xwing has been conducting cargo flights under an FAA experimental license with a converted Grand Caravan. The company aims to win approval to operate scheduled freight services in the autonomously controlled aircraft by 2022 and believes the FAA will eventually give clearance for passenger flights.

In Europe, aviation consultant Darrell Swanson is exploring ways to significantly expand “sub-regional” air service, using more efficient, smaller aircraft to directly connect provincial cities and bypass the traditional hub-and-spoke air transport model. As part of a study for the UK Department of Transport, he used cell phone data to track individual journeys across the country and assess more efficient ways to make them with aircraft as an alternative to cars and trains.elect v. hydrocarbonThe data presented in Swanson’s report, Distributed Aviation and Regional Air Mobility, revealed what he calls sub-regional airline opportunities to serve medium-range domestic routes of between around 200  and 400 km (125 to 250 miles), such as Southampton to Manchester. It also identified a strong business case for using eVTOL aircraft on routes of great value to a particular industry or group of customers, such as one to carry oil workers between Aberdeen and Sumburgh in Scotland. Swanson’s analysis has identified similar sub-regional business models in countries such as France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Spain, as well as in Asia.

Michael Dyment, managing partner with strategic consultancy and investment group Nexa Advisors, has identified similar opportunities in the U.S. The company recently completed a study fornexa mike dyment Ohio’s transportation department that showed how electric aircraft could boost air service between multiple cities across the state. He told the EAS audience that such opportunities will increase as improved electric propulsion technology, notably batteries, increases the range of eVTOL aircraft to between 150 and 250 miles.

According to Dyment, the cost of ground infrastructure is a big factor in underpinning the business case for new modes of regional air service. “The cost of building a brand-new, 50-million-passenger airport somewhere in the central U.S. is higher than the cost of building out vertiports and other advanced air mobility infrastructure in 30 to 40 other U.S. cities,” he said. Nexa plans to announce significant investments in U.S. air mobility infrastructure by early 2022.

 

[1] The AIN article addresses the introduction of autonomous flight, also. Unless ALPA closes shop, any prognosis of pilotless flight of these vehicles in the near term is not credible. The JJ post will not comment on this cockpit option.

[2] Marc Ausman, Co-founder & CEO. Chief Strategist on the Airbus Vahana program. Formerly COO at Yuneec, President at Vertical Power, Board member at Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), Director at Eclipse Aviation, and Naval Aviator at US Navy. MBA, UT Austin. BS, Cal Poly.

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