Norwegians buy 60 electric planes to train future airline pilots
Norwegian OSM Aviation, specialized in training air crews, has placed an order for 60 electric eFlyer 2 planes with Denver, Colorado (US) based Bye Aerospace. They will be used in its flight training centres to qualify pilots for the ‘future on sustainable wings’, the company says.
“We’re proud to take the lead in the future of green aviation”, says Espen Høiby, CEO of OSM Aviation Group. “This is the largest order for commercial electric planes to date”, he adds. Høiby, older brother of Norwegian crown prince Haakon’s wife, princess Mette-Marit, is a former airline pilot himself.
Proactive and innovative
On the company’s website Høiby predicts “that it is only a matter of time before electrical planes enter into commercial use in international air travel. He says the industry needs to be both proactive and innovative to keep up.”
The plane itself was just re-branded from ‘Sun Flyer’ into ‘eFlyer’ and is being developed as a two-seat and a four-seat model. Bye Aerospace claims it will be “the first FAA certified, practical, all-electric airplane to serve the flight training and general aviation markets.” On February 8th, the eFlyer 2 completed its first official test flight successfully with a Siemens electric motor.
92 kWh battery pack
The eFlyer 2 is made out of composite materials, has a wingspan of 12 metre and two seats side-by-side. It has a gross weight of 860 kg, of which a large part is accounted for by the 92 kWh lithium-ion six-pack, delivered by Utah-based Electric Power Systems.
The plane is driven by a two-bladed propeller and a (German) Siemens electric motor, the SP70D, delivering 90 kW at take-off and 70 kW continuous. The aircraft’s maximum speed is 138 knots (256 km/h) and should be capable to stay in the air up to three and a half hours.
Six times lower cost than Cessna
Bye Aerospace claims the energy costs during flight training is as low as 3 dollar per hour, compared to 40 to 50 dollar with a conventional training airplane with combustion engine on aviation gasoline. Hourly operation costs would be six times lower than that of a classic Cessna 172, ‘piston-powered’ plane often used for training today.
A total cost for the order made by OSM Aviation wasn’t made public, but the eFlyer 2 is advertised at a list price of 349.000 dollar today.