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Aero-TV: Bye Energy's Electric 172 -- Building a Greener Future for Aviation

An Airplane That Will Get You All-Charged Up

There's no question it will be a few more years before electric aircraft become a common site at small airports. So far, they're mostly based on esoteric one-off airframes optimized for low mass, or modified experimental airplanes.

But if there was any doubt they can one day be mainstream, that idea was erased last year by Cessna, which announced at a November 2010 news conference that the aircraft which leads the world in all-time deliveries, the venerable 172 SkyHawk, was the basis for an electric conversion proof-of-concept.

In commenting on the project, Cessna VP of Corporate Communications Bob Stangerone made it clear that while Cessna is providing support in certain engineering areas, the concept was being developed primarily by Bye Energy, a company devoted to developing electric propulsion.

Stangerone introduced George Bye, chairman, president and CEO of Bye Energy, to explain the future of 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, but things have been quiet so far in 2011.

In this news conference, captured by Aero-TV, Bye made it clear this vision is neither low-volume nor experimental, but aimed at a full-on Part 23 certification. "We are trying to make a difference in revitalizing this industry that we all love so very much, with the technology as applied to certified, mainstream aviation...on an airplane that's, bar none, the most popular aircraft of all time.

"And so, when we talk about the Cessna 172, a great platform for many reasons, but also a great trainer, and the initial two-hour approximate just right with a training aircraft, the entry point for the next generation of pilots."



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