Hybrid powered aircraft makes US debut

Airbus E-Fan hybrid aircraft in flight

Airbus has been in Oshkosh showcasing its E-Fan 1.2 hybrid powered light aircraft to American audiences.

Airbus Group has been showcasing its ideas for the future of electric aviation at 2016 EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh with the US debut of the Airbus E-Fan 1.2, an experimental electric aircraft recently updated with a new hybrid electric/gas engine.

“Hybrid electric flight represents one of the biggest industrial challenges of our time, and our goal is to create aircraft designs that generate zero emissions,” said Andy Anderson, chief operating officer for the Corporate Technology Office at Airbus Group.

“With the E-Fan 1.2, we’re continuing to explore innovative approaches to more environmentally friendly technologies as possible alternatives to fossil fuels. Using insights gained from the E-Fan programme, we hope to reduce – and possibly eliminate – the use of fossil fuels in aviation design within the next 30 to 40 years.”

As part of Airbus Group’s commitment to pioneering the future of energy-efficient aviation, the company developed the E-Fan 1.1, an experimental aircraft to validate the concept of electric-powered flight. Last year, the plane made aviation history as the first electric-powered aircraft to cross the English Channel. The E-Fan 1.1 demonstrator was also the 2014 recipient of the Comparative Aircraft Flight Efficiency (CAFE) Foundation’s Personal Aircraft Design Academy (PADA) award and trophy, which annually recognises the world’s best personal aircraft designs and engineers.

The E-Fan 1.2 operates on a hybrid engine to reduce noise, vibration and weight of the plane while increasing battery capacity and extending its range. With this hybrid engine, the E-Fan has significantly reduced its noise level and operates on an electric taxiing system. The US debut provided aviation experts and enthusiasts with the opportunity to view the hybrid engine for the first time publicly and learn more about Airbus Group’s vision for the future of green aviation.

Since its founding in 2011, the Airbus E-Fan project has worked to develop more energy efficient aircraft. The project is aligned with the European Commission’s “Flightpath 2050” goals, which call for significant reductions in aircraft carbon dioxide emissions and noise to ensure the sustainable development of the aviation industry. Additionally, as a highly innovative technology flying test bed, the Airbus E-Fan is promoting research in electric propulsion and the certification of electrical flight concepts.

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