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Thu, Jul 21, 2022

Rise of the Electric Archer

CAE and Piper to Develop Electric Powered Iteration of Iconic Aircraft

CAE will partner with Piper Aircraft Inc. to develop an electric-powered variant of Piper’s Archer (PA-28-181) light, utility-aircraft. The conversion of the iconic airplane from its legacy, single-internal-combustion-engine configuration to electric power will be via a kit for which CAE and Piper intend to obtain Supplemental Type Certification (STC).

CAE expects to convert two-thirds of its Piper Archer training fleet to electric power and develop a curriculum by which to train future pilots in the dark art of operating such machines. To actualize its lofty and laudable aspiration of developing a clean, quiet airplane in which to train tomorrow’s aviators, CAE has recruited engineering and manufacturing talent from Canada, the United States, and Europe.

CAE President and CEO Marc Parent said of his company’s partnership with Piper: “Piper Aircraft has been a longstanding trusted partner for CAE’s flight training operations, and we are very pleased to have them join us, along with other electric aviation leaders, in this leap forward for the sustainable future of aviation.” Mister Parent added: “The development of this technology is a first for CAE. As an engineering powerhouse and one of the largest Piper Archer operators, CAE is uniquely positioned to make electric-powered flight a reality at our flight schools and beyond.”

Piper Aircraft President and CEO John Calcagno echoed Mr. Parent’s optimism, stating: “Piper Aircraft is excited to support CAE’s development of an electric aircraft modification conversion kit for the Piper Archer. With 28,000 aircraft in global service, the PA-28 is the ideal platform for real world flight-training curriculums and professional pilot training programs like CAE’s.  Piper Aircraft is focused on aviation’s commitment to greenhouse gas reductions and as such, we look forward to collaborating with CAE on the integration of an electric propulsion system for the Piper Archer”

The batteries by which the electric Archer is to be motivated aloft will be provided by Swiss technology concern, H55—the selfsame company that powered the Solar Impulse project, a Swiss initiative that saw the first circumnavigation of the Earth by a solar/electric powered aircraft.

H55’s batteries will power a 150-kilowatt, Safran ENGINeUS-100 smart electric motor, which CAE will incorporate into the STC conversion kit. The motor—which features a fully-integrated controller and a cooling system for thermal management—aligns neatly with CAE’s flight-training operating requirements.

The development of the electric conversion kit for Piper’s Archer is part of Project Resilience, a five-year collaboration between private industry and government that aims to develop artificial intelligence (AI)-based aviation technologies, provide operational support and training solutions for Advanced Air Mobility, and develop green, light-aircraft technologies.

FMI: www.cae.com

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