PHOTO CAPTION: Single-seat Sun Flyer taxis during flight tests in Colorado.

First 20 Sun Flyers Headed to Spartan College

Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology pens agreement with Aero Electric Aircraft Corp. to first all-electric, solar-powered training aircraft.

Published: 20-Jan-2015

The first two production models of the two-place Sun Flyer solar-powered electric airplane are now slated for delivery to Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology, located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Developed in collaboration with PC Aero, based in Germany, and Bye Aviation of Denver. Colorado. the trainer aircraft will be the first delivered to a flight school in North America.

The purpose for introducing an electric flight trainer has more to do with cost than environmental concerns. Bye Aviation's chief, George Bye, estimates the operational costs of a four-place Cessna 172, a popular pilot trainer, at $73 a hour. The plane itself can cost $370,000. The two-place Sun Flyer will sell for between $180-200,000. More impressively, its operating cost could be as low as $10 a hour, making flight training more accessible to future pilots.

The Sun Flyer, which is being developed out of the single-seat model developed in Germany by PC Aero, is just the first of a number of similar electric trainer aircraft coming out of Europe and Asia. China has already flown two high-wing, two-place, trainer prototypes. Airbus in France is working on a family of electric ducted fan models.

Cited in the CAFE Foundation blog, Spartan College CEO Peter Harris states:

“This agreement signifies our commitment to innovation and to serving the next generation of pilots. Spartan College is honored to be the first training school to formalize our collaboration on a complete training system that will make flight training more modern, accessible and economical than ever before.”

Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation, which is responsible for the development and marketing of the aircraft, says it hopes to start test flight of the two-place trainer in the Fall of 2015.

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