October 01, 2018

New electric engine aims to power future private flights

At PrivateFly we’re very excited by the future potential of solar and electric engineering in aviation. There are a number of new and ongoing projects taking place, and we hope to see one them making an impact on the private charter market before too long.

Best known electric & solar aviation projects

Within electric-powered aircraft, one of the most advanced projects in recent development was the E-Fan, a fully electric aircraft by Didier Esteyne with the Airbus Group. The E-Fan saw initial success in 2015 and sought to be sold as a pilot training device, but the project was shelved to focus on broader development of Airbus’ electric aviation road map.

The Group is now exploring a range of other future electric-hybrid concepts in partnership with others, for commercial passenger flight.

When it comes to solar aircraft, the best known and most successful is Solar Impulse – a giant birdlike aircraft with a wingspan bigger than a 747, and a solar skin of over 17,000 solar cells. In 2015, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg set out with the aim of flying the Solar Impulse 2 around the world. By 2016, the feat had been accomplished, and development is still underway.

New electric development – the MagniX engine

Startup MagniX recently announced a project to develop an electric battery propulsion system that could replace the turboprop engine.

If successful, this project could see popular turboprops such as the Cessna Caravan or King Air using electric motors, instead of their traditional parts.

The MagniX model is already capable of 350 horsepower and is expected to develop further to reach 750 horsepower – the power needed to operate a Cessna 208 Caravan.

MagniX claims the true value in the ingenious motor is in its profitability and low operating cost. The startup states that the motor will not exceed 40-60% of the current average operating costs of turboprop engines – in addition to the clear savings on fuel, and the environmental benefits.

Private charter of electric aircraft

As turboprop aircraft are a popular segment of the charter market, there is exciting potential here. We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on this space and other advancements in the industry.

While we wait to charter electric and solar aircraft, you can discuss other aircraft types with our expert 24-hour Flight Team. Contact us or call +44 (0)20 7100 6960.

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