Could the aviation industry be moving to electric?
British aviation company Faradair has developed a hybrid triplane concept to allow short-haul electric travel.
The aircraft will be called the Bio Electric Hybrid Aerial (BEHA) and will have 19 seats. It will be driven by an electric motor by a fan, according to a BBC report. The aircraft will be powered by a small gas turbine.
Hybrid triplane promises low-cost intracity flights
The triple-level wing design of the BEHA will allow for take-offs and landings from short runways. Faradair CEO Neil Cloughey stated that the BEHA has fewer moving parts and is therefore more affordable to operate. The aircraft’s wings are equipped with solar panels that provide cabin ground power.
Cloughey stated that the lower operating costs will allow consumers to fly at a lower cost than rail. The aircraft was designed to be durable in a climate where governments around the world and the aviation industry are trying to reduce carbon emissions. Cloughey explained to the BBC that they had decided to create an aircraft that was not only economical, but also cost-effective and quiet.
Cloughey stated that the BEHA will eventually allow short-haul travel between cities like London and Manchester, for approximately PS25 per way (approx. $30). This is less than the cost of traveling the 163 miles (262 km) by train between the cities.
Electric aviation: Solving the problem
Global carbon emissions are approximately 2 percent due to the aviation industry. The latest IPCC report about climate change was released by the International Air Transport Association. It announced that it would work towards zero carbon emissions by 2050. Airbus is one of the largest aviation companies. However, they are focusing on biofuels for the short term. Hydrogen and electric propulsion aircraft can also be used to reduce emissions.
Faradair, a Cambridgeshire-based hybrid system, believes that the BEHA system is a better alternative to battery-electric aircraft with a limited capacity. Although electric cars will soon replace internal combustion engines vehicles, the capabilities of electric aircraft are limited by their weight and the power needed to take off. NASA’s Maxwell X-59 electronic prototype can fly for only 40 minutes.
Faradair will compete against eVTOL flying taxi startup Volocopter, Lilium and Lilium. They expect to begin operating around 2024. The BEHA requires access to an airstrip, unlike eVTOL flying taxis. However, it will have a larger passenger capacity than other drone-like eVTOL aircraft. Faradair plans to fly its aircraft by 2025 and to start commercial flights by 2027.