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Flight Design to Present New Hybrid Propulsion System for Light Aircraft

Flight Design GmbH will debut a hybrid engine concept for light aircraft at the upcoming Aero show in Friedrichshafen, Germany (2-5 April). Flight Design developed the concept engine over the past two years with Franz Aircraft Engines.

The concept is based on a Rotax aircraft engine together with an electric booster. The very high boost power of the electric motor is only used for take-off and climb.

The result is an optimized engine in respect to size, weight and fuel efficiency for cruise flight, with additional 40 horsepower for take-off, climb or during an engine stoppage due to fuel starvation.

—Matthias Betsch, Flight Design CEO

Due to of the low installed system weight, the propulsion system will give new possibilities for general aviation airplanes by increasing payload. First flight tests of the new powerplant system will be made in 2009 using an existing airplane. Flight Design also indicated that preliminary talks with the EASA regarding certification have been already successfully conducted.

Flight Design is a 23-year-old air sport products producer based in Germany. More than 1,300 of its aircraft are flying in 25 countries. One of the first aircraft certified under the American ASTM standards, in 2005, the CT (“composite technology”) remains the best-selling LSA in America through four consecutive years. CT in several models has been popular in Germany and Europe for more than thirteen years.



The high power available and required for takeoff disappears with altitude.
The savings of a smaller engine are probably enough to carry the extra batteries and motor only for aircraft that operate at relatively low altitudes (maybe below 15K' or so)


For small aircraft a diesel powerplant burning jet fuel is the way to go. It provides longer endurance for the same weight of fuel carried as well as not using 100 LL which in fact puts out lead. The time between overhauls on a diesel will also be longer than on a spark ignition setup.

If higher density altitude operation is needed a turbo can easlily be added.

Operation above 12,000 feet requires the cabin be pressurized or supplemental oxygen be used. Because of the added cost this is usually not a feature that small single engine airplane operators can afford.

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