VoltAero takes e-aviation to new heights

IASA e.V. - sustainable Aviation

Cassio aircraft flight testing is underway with Safran’s ENGINeUS™ electric motors

March 10, 2020

Médis, France – VoltAero has marked a significant milestone in developing its all-new family of Cassio e-aircraft with initiation of flight testing using Safran Electrical & Power’s ENGINeUS™ smart electric motors.

This testing is a major step toward validating the electric and hybrid-electric powertrains for Cassio aircraft. It keeps the company on track in evolving a family of airplanes with four to nine seats, tailored for operation by private owners, air taxi/charter companies, in commercial flights for point-to-point regional travel, and in various utility-category applications.

“I am very pleased with the testing as we accumulate time aloft and open up the aircraft’s flight envelope,” said Jean Botti, VoltAero’s CEO and Chief Technical Officer. “The current test phase is with the powertrain for our six-seat Cassio version, to be followed by validation of the final aerodynamic and powertrain configurations on both the four- and nine-seat Cassio versions.”

The current flight evaluations utilize VoltAero’s Cassio 1 testbed aircraft, with the two ENGINeUS™ 45 electric motors installed in forward-facing positions on the wings. Cassio 1 is piloted by Technical Director Didier Esteyne, operating from VoltAero’s headquarters facility at the Royan-Médis Aérodrome in France.

“Flying on the power of Safran’s ENGINeUS™ motors is truly remarkable, with no vibration and extremely low noise levels,” Esteyne explained. “It confirms that our Cassio aircraft will bring an entirely new experience to aviation.”

In its full-up nine-seat version, the Cassio aircraft will utilize electric motors along with VoltAero’s proprietary aft-facing hybrid power module, which brings together an internal combustion engine and three electric motors. The prototype VoltAero hybrid power module continues its validation on a ground-based rig, preparing for a subsequent integration on the Cassio 1 testbed aircraft.

“Safran is proud to be powering the Cassio 1 aircraft as VoltAero brings a new dimension to electric aviation,” said Hervé Blanc, Executive Vice President & General Manager of the Electrical Systems and Motors Division at Safran Electrical & Power. “We are fully committed to supporting VoltAero throughout the flight test phase and look forward to the company’s future production of Cassio aircraft.”

Source: VOLTAERO

Swedavia launches electric aviation strategy – Åre Östersund ready for first electric aircraft in autumn 2020

IASA: Nachhaltige Luftfahrt - Sustainable Aviation

2020-02-14, kl. 09:29

Swedavia has adopted a strategy for electric aviation. The goal is to enable all ten Swedavia airports to handle electric aircraft and to be able to place the first commercial electrified route in service by around 2025. At Åre Östersund Airport, a testing venue for electric aircraft is planned to be put into operation during the autumn.

The investment in electric aviation is another step in Swedavia’s work to promote the changeover to fossil-free domestic air transport in Sweden by 2030 and fossil-free air transport for all flights originating in the country by 2045. For many years, Swedavia has been carrying out work to increase the use of sustainable bio jet fuel.

“Bio jet fuel is critical in a short-term perspective for driving the aviation industry’s transformation in the face of climate change. But in the long term, electrification can also play a key role. Swedavia wants to take an active part at an early stage of this development and get an understanding of the conditions needed for electric aviation from an infrastructure perspective,” says Jonas Abrahamsson, Swedavia’s president and CEO.

A testing venue for electric aircraft is planned to be put into operation at Åre Östersund Airport during the autumn, at which time it will be possible to receive the first electric aircraft. Planning is currently under way for aircraft parking stands, infrastructure for charging aircraft and the power supply needed at the airport and to ensure the necessary permits.

Test flights of electric aircraft and drones will be carried out in the airspace between Åre Östersund and Røros Airport in Norway in collaboration with a number of partners both in Sweden and Norway under the framework for the EU project Green Flyway.

“We believe there is good potential for the first commercial electrified route in Sweden within five years. In the longer term, the electrification of routes can be an important addition to today’s scheduled traffic, primarily domestic flights. But electric air transport can also lead to brand-new routes between regional centres, which would benefit access and regional growth as well as create a whole new business model for air transport,” says Jonas Abrahamsson.

In the long term, all ten Swedavia airports will provide infrastructure for handling electric aircraft. In addition to Åre Östersund, Umeå Airport and Visby Airport are in the initial stages of developing electric aviation. Among other measures, Umeå Airport is taking part in a project to consider the possibilities of electrified flights between Sweden and Finland.

“Given the possibilities, Swedavia welcomes the Swedish government’s new initiative to study suitable measures to accelerate the introduction of electric aviation and the changeover to fossil-free air transport, which can contribute to Sweden’s access and to regional development throughout the country,” says Jonas Abrahamsson.

For many years, Swedavia has carried out ambitious sustainability work. All ten of its airports will have zero emissions of fossil carbon dioxide from their own operations by the end of 2020. Swedavia also works actively to promote the industry’s transition to bio fuel and has the goal that five per cent of all fuel used to refuel aircraft at Swedish airports shall be fossil-free by 2025.Since 2016, Swedavia purchases bio jet fuel equivalent to the amount used for the company’s flights for business purposes, about 450 tonnes of fuel a year.

For further information, please contact Swedavia’s press office at tel. +46 8 10-109 01 00 or press@swedavia.se.

Source: Swedavia

Rolls-Royce unveils all-electric plane targeting the record books

IASA e.V. - sustainable aviation

19 December 2019

Rolls-Royce’s ambitions to build the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft have taken an important step forward with the unveiling of the plane at Gloucestershire Airport. Work will now begin on integrating the ground-breaking electrical propulsion system to enable the zero-emissions plane to make a run for the record books with a target speed of 300+ MPH (480+ KMH) in late Spring 2020.

The plane is part of a Rolls-Royce initiative called ACCEL – short for “Accelerating the Electrification of Flight” and is a key part of Rolls-Royce’s strategy to champion electrification. The project involves a host of partners including electric motor and controller manufacturer YASA and the aviation start- up Electroflight. Half of the project’s funding is provided by the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI), in partnership with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and Innovate UK.

Business Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “The UK has a proud heritage and enviable worldwide reputation for advances in aviation technology. The electrification of flight has the potential to revolutionise the way we travel and transform aviation for decades to come – ensuring we can travel worldwide while maintaining a low carbon footprint. Backed by Government funding, Rolls-Royce is pushing the boundaries even further, and this new innovation could become the fastest electric plane ever.”

Rob Watson, Director of Rolls-Royce Electrical said: “Building the world’s fastest all-electric aircraft is nothing less than a revolutionary step change in aviation and we are delighted to unveil the ACCEL project plane. This is not only an important step towards the world-record attempt but will also help to develop Rolls-Royce’s capabilities and ensure that we are at the forefront of developing technology that can play a fundamental role in enabling the transition to a low carbon global economy.”

The ionBird test airframe, named after the electrical technology propelling the aircraft, was also unveiled. The ionBird will be used to test the propulsion system before it is fully integrated into the plane. Planned tests over the next couple of months include running the propulsion system up to full power as well as key airworthiness checks.

“The ATI is proud to partner with Rolls-Royce on the ACCEL programme because we believe it will lead to exciting new developments in electric propulsion. One of the priorities of the ATI is looking at how aviation can be more sustainable, and ACCEL will be a critical step in our understanding of how electric propulsion fits into that broader aspiration for the UK aerospace sector,” said Gary Elliott, CEO of the Aerospace Technology Institute. “We are also excited about the way it establishes a new and innovative supply chain, bringing together the best of the UK that includes cross-sector expertise, start-up energy and critical domain leadership”.

ACCEL will have the most power-dense battery pack ever assembled for an aircraft, providing enough energy to fuel 250 homes or fly 200 miles (London to Paris) on a single charge. Its 6,000 cells are packaged to minimise weight and maximise thermal protection. An advanced cooling system ensures optimum performance by directly cooling cells during the high-power record runs.

The propeller is driven by three high power density axial electric motors and compared to a conventional plane, the propeller blades spin at a far lower RPM to deliver a more stable and far quieter ride. Combined they’ll continuously deliver more than 500 horsepower for the record run. Even during the record run the all-electric powertrain delivers power with 90% energy efficiency and of course zero emissions. (In comparison, a Formula 1 race car tops out at close to 50% energy efficiency).

Chris Harris, CEO, YASA said: “YASA’s electric motor technology is ideal for powering electric flight – the advantages we see on the road are amplified in the air where reducing size and weight for a given power and torque is even more important. We share the same passion for engineering as the team at Rolls-Royce and are delighted to partner with them on ACCEL, a project that’s ushering in a new age of sustainable, electric flight.”

The ACCEL project is just one of the ways in which Rolls-Royce is developing lower carbon power. This includes partnering with Airbus on the E-Fan X technology demonstrator project, which is an important stepping stone towards hybrid electric commercial aircraft at the scale of today’s single aisle family. We are also working with Widerøe, the largest regional airline in Scandinavia on a joint research programme on zero-emissions aviation. The programme is part of the airline´s ambition to replace and electrify its regional fleet of 30+ planes by 2030.

Source: Rolls-Royce

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