Sunday, November 13, 2011
How Long Before The New Electric Cessna 172 Is Ready For Flight Training
How long before an electric Cessna 172 is available for flight training? That is the question, and the wait isnt as long as we think..
Cessna Aircraft, ever the leader in general aviation innovation is working with Bye Energy to design a proof-of-concept Cessna 172 aircraft powered by an electric powerplant. You may wonder if this is a serious effort, or some strange turn has been taken at Cessna.
Well, consider this: Another aviation pioneer Burt Rutan and dreamer addressed the World Electric Symposium at the Experimental Aircraft Association museum during last years AirVenture 2010 where he speculated about the possibilities of self-launching electric sailplanes, and conventional aircraft with backup electrical propulsion systems to amazing electrical powered aerobatic airplanes.
If Burt Rutan is dreaming of these things, who amongst us can question that these ideas are part of the future of aviation. And, why not! Aviation has always been a leader in technological advancements, ever since that fateful day in December when the Wright Brothers flew the world’s first heavier-than-air powered aircraft carrying man, the Wright Flyer.
Throughout the years incredible advances in technology have improved the lives of humans, and when the space age dawned those advance accelerated producing many of the things we take for granted as every day things today: computers, microwave ovens, cell phones and more.
Imagine an aircraft with an electrical emergency power plant which could provide just enough energy to an approach or go-around if the primary engine were to fail.
And Cessna has delivered over 43,000 Cessna 172s, the aircraft I learned to fly in. Bye Energy envisions an APU (auxiliary power unit) fueled by jet fuel driving an electric motor which powers the electric Skyhawk. George Bye, chairman, president and CEO of Bye Energy, explained the future of the electric aircraft in more detail. He noted the rapid progress of the project, moving from early concept to power-up during 2010. Taxi tests were said to be the next step for the Electric Cessna 172 Skyhawk, but things have been quiet so far in 2011. There's no question it will be a few more years before electric aircraft become a common site at small general aviation airports
What do you think about electrically powered aircraft?