Faradair Aerospace Working On 20-Seat Electric Airplane
While the electric aviation industry is working on futuristic-looking electric vertical takeoff & landing (eVTOL) aircraft, more conventional electric airplanes (eCTOL) are filling different niches and needs. So, what does Faradair Aerospace have to offer with its Bio-Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA) M1H?
The Eviation Alice is working on a 9-seat pure electric air commuter to answer a critical market segment. That market segment is underserved due to low profits from fossil fuel propulsion. Anything above usually jumps to 100 seats or more. This is where British aviation startup Faradair Aerospace is working on an 18-seat biofuel-hybrid aircraft. It recently unveiled its unconventionally designed conventional electric airplane (eCTOL), which can be used for passenger and cargo transport.
Faradair Aerospace designed its Bio-Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA) M1H around 3 founding principles; reducing overall operation cost, noise, and climate change. The company says using electric power is the only way to tackle all 3 at once.
Unconventional in design for a “conventional” e-plane, the BEHA M1H will use two forms of integrated propulsion systems. One will be used for takeoff and landing, while the transition to cruising will be handled by a traditional turboprop biofuel engine that can recharge the batteries. The BEHA M1H has an interesting wing and fuselage that incorporates into a triple box wing design. This configuration provides more lift for heavy cargo, according to the company.
The 500 kW electric motor and its biofuel counterpart will together produce 1,600 hp, enough for a thrust efficiency of 220 knots (230 mph).
Technically, the BEHA M1H pitches two contra-rotating propfans, one connected to the electric motor, the other to the traditional power motor. This intelligent redundant configuration means, according to Faradair, there is always power for sustained flight. The vectored thrust from the propfans will let the BEHA M1H precisely maneuver in a UAM environment, enabling 300 meter take-off and landings.
Where Faradair caught my attention was by quoting noise pollution in terms of decibels. Although not new, the company says the noise level of its electric motors was lowered to “60 dba upon takeoff, compared to 140 dba for a conventional jet aircraft.” This is a good reference for those with hearing problems. It might explain why concerts at 80 and above are way too loud. But if people don’t mind loud concerts, what are the occasional airplanes and helicopters next to that?
Irony apart, one thing we can agree on is that the modernization of the electric propulsion system — whether on land, sea, or air — gave us unconventional designs.
One question that’s been making the news rounds is that of whether traditional helicopters and conventional airplanes will play a role in UAM. The answer is, yes, at least in the early phases. They will ease the transition to a wider and more robust UAM network around the world. The BEHA M1H is targeted at just that.
Faradair says its BEHA M1H will cover a 262 km flight 42 minutes faster than traditional helicopters. It plans to have a demonstrator by 2022 and commercial flight a few years later. The project has a reasonable cost estimated at around $4 million.
We wish Faradair Aerospace good luck with its bio-hybrid BEHA M1H.