March 10, 2021
Editor’s note: This article was updated March 11 with current prices and additional powerplant information.
Denver-based Bye Aerospace has been busy. On March 8, founder George Bye hinted at a potential eight-seat electric twin; announced that three whole-airframe airplane parachutes had successfully lowered a simulated all-electric two-seat eFlyer 2; and noted that the company signed an agreement adding four eFlyer 4s to its production backlog reaching 721 electric aircraft.
“Bye Aerospace is developing a remarkable 8-seat all-electric twin-engine airplane that is based on the electric and propulsion technology established on the eFlyer systems going through FAA certification rigor now,” Bye wrote in an email. He previously told AOPA about plans for a six-seat “upcoming and not yet announced eFlyer X—a pressurized, retract gear version of the eFlyer 4.” However, the latest design takes the concept even further. Bye promised additional details “will be announced soon on this game-changing turboprop class aircraft.”
The eFlyer 2 is powered by a 119-kW (150-horsepower equivalent) Safran electric smart motor capable of propelling the airplane to 135 knots with endurance that is said to be three hours with “optimum endurance safety margins on typical flight training sorties of 1.1 to 1.3 flight hours.” The eFlyer 2 recently underwent limit load testing. Barrels filled with water represented the low-wing airplane to “make sure the canopy will withstand the load put on it,” said Aviation Safety Resources Inc. President and CEO Larry Williams.
Additional procedures testing the emergency parachute system for the two-person model will advance to “ultimate load testing where we will drop 1.15 times the maximum weight and speed for eFlyer 2” and represent a real-world environment to demonstrate that the “parachute canopy is robust,” Williams added. “By exceeding the rated weights and speeds, this provides a critical 1.5X safety factor in accordance with the ASTM and FAA requirements.” The eFlyer 2 has a base price of $489,000.
The four-person eFlyer 4 will use a more powerful motor and currently has a base price of $627,000. It is targeted at air taxi and advanced training operations.
The company said its family of all-electric airplanes can lower operating costs “five-fold” compared to combustion engine technology, decrease noise, and eliminate CO2 emissions.