AOPA reinforces its commitment to the future of aviation

Pilot Briefing 2021

The two-seat eFlyer 2 is part of a fleet from Bye Aerospace that is expected to simplify aircraft operations, reduce maintenance costs, reduce carbon emissions from the aircraft to zero, and dramatically cut hourly operating costs.

“We have a keen eye to aviation’s future, while keeping the needs of the current fleet in focus,” said AOPA President Mark Baker. “The hundreds of thousands of aircraft in today’s general aviation fleet provide a wide range of needed services to communities. At the same time, we’re excited to work with such innovators as Bye Aerospace, which works tirelessly to develop transformative advancements in general aviation.”

The eFlyer 2 is expected to carry an operating cost of $23 per hour (about $4 per hour in energy, depending on local electricity cost), with a top cruising speed of 135 knots. Currently, Bye Aerospace has orders for more than 700 of its electric aircraft. eFlyer 2 deliveries are expected to begin soon after FAA certification is achieved in late 2022, according to the current certification program schedule.

The company is also developing a four-seat, higher performance all-electric model called the eFlyer 4.

Working with manufacturers such as Bye Aerospace is one of the pillars of AOPA’s ongoing commitment to the next generation of aviation innovation and alternative fuels, while ensuring a seamless transition for legacy aircraft. This commitment includes several key initiatives, which have or will result in significant accomplishments for aviation:

  • Piston Aviation Fuels Initiative (PAFI). AOPA continues to serve as a member of the PAFI Steering Group, an industry-government collaboration that is evaluating options for an unleaded avgas that can achieve fleetwide approval. Congress has provided over $30 million to the PAFI program where testing and evaluation is taking place at private and public testing facilities across the country, including the FAA’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in New Jersey.
  • Real-time special-use airspace notification. AOPA championed legislation to have real-time status of military operations areas and other types of special-use airspace pushed into the cockpits of aviators included in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act. According to a MITRE Corp. report, this move could bring annual savings of $100 million in fuel costs and 90,000 hours in flight time, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 300 million kg.
  • Urban air mobility/eVTOL. AOPA supports efforts to develop a new generation of electric aircraft with short-field or vertical-takeoff-and-landing capability. AOPA has been immersed in several aspects of this development, including a push to use the nation’s existing 5,000 public-use airports as an ideal base for many of these aircraft, already having the needed infrastructure.
  • New aircraft technology and design. AOPA is among the stakeholders working with the FAA on the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates (MOSAIC) project to encourage the development of new aircraft designs that are more compatible with emerging propulsion systems. AOPA will continue to spotlight advances in aircraft design and efficiency.

“I’m excited about the future of GA,” Baker reiterated. “Innovation and emerging technologies will create new types of airframes and propulsion that will keep GA vibrant for generations to come.”

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