November 12, 2018, AEX.RU – For the first time there was a promising hybrid, twin-engine light aircraft developed by the Austrian company Diamond Aircraft based on DA40. According to N + 1, referring to the company's data, the tests took place on October 31, 2018. And they were considered completely successful. In total, the first flight of a hybrid aircraft, in which the German Siemens company also takes part, lasted about 20 minutes. Aircraft tests will continue in the near future.
A hybrid airplane is called an aircraft whose engines are powered by electricity, which in turn is generated by a turbogenerator and accumulates in batteries. In a turbogenerator, as a power plant, you can use virtually any combustion engine (gas turbine, turbocharger, diesel) if its power is sufficient to promote the generator provided for in the project.
Today, several companies in the world are involved in the development of hybrid airplanes. The developers believe that the new aircraft will be much more economical and more environmentally friendly than modern aircraft, in particular due to cheaper maintenance and significantly lower fuel consumption. First of all, it is planned to use hybrid airplanes on short routes instead of turboprop and crossover aircraft.
The light DA40 plane is a four-engine single-engine piston plane with a propeller in the bow. Developers removed the piston engine from the aircraft and installed a 110-kilo diesel generator instead. Two rechargeable batteries with a capacity of 12 kilowatt hours each, installed in the cabin instead of the row of passenger seats, are recharged from it. The generator and batteries supply two electric motors placed in the engine nacelles on the front horizontal tail. The total engine power is 150 kilowatts in departure mode.
According to the developers, the plane will be able to rise completely in the air for up to half an hour when the batteries are fully charged, but in hybrid mode with the diesel generator on, this time will increase to at least five hours. During the first flight of the modified DA40 hybrid, experts tested the work of the hybrid propulsion system, aircraft balancing, service and maneuverability. In addition, a separate control system for electric motors was inspected.
During the tests on October 31, the plane took off with the diesel engine off, climbed to a height of 914 meters and obtained a speed of 130 knots (241 km / h). In the air, the experts checked the plane in three modes: power electric motors from a diesel generator without charging the battery, charging the batteries and in the fully electric mode. In the near future, it is planned to conduct additional flight tests of the aircraft in order to assess its noise and environmental impact in relation to the DA40 base.
At the end of October this year, the French startup VoltAero, founded by immigrants from the Airbus group and the creators of the family of electrical electric aircraft E-Fan Jean Botti and Didier Estein, began developing a hybrid airplane with a distributed power train. In such a propulsion system, electric motors with pulling propellers will be responsible for creating the propulsive force during take-off and landing, while the cruise will be provided by an internal combustion engine that rotates the pushing propeller.