For the last five years, Faradair has been designing an 18-seat hybrid-electric aircraft at its headquarters in the UK.
Just earlier this year at the Revolution.Aero Europe show, Faradair revealed its prototype and plans for the Bio Electric Hybrid Aircraft (BEHA). The company announced its intention to fly by 2022 and be to certified and ready for commercial operations by 2025. The aircraft is being designed for both passenger and cargo transport, and is capable of being transformed between the two arrangements in as short as 15 minutes. This is an important feature of the company’s prototype as they attempt to minimize the total time in transit for regional travel – it implies shorter turnaround times and enables passengers to board their flight with shorter average wait times.
The aircraft is also predicted to fill a gap in what current transportation systems are able to offer, as it plans to be a faster alternative to current methods, while being environmentally friendly and cost-effective. For example, London to Manchester could be flown in just 42 minutes at a cruise speed of 230mph – the fastest commercial alternative is a 1 hour and 8 minute transit.
In order to achieve an efficient and sustainable design, the Faradair engineers have employed a unique synthesis of design features. The hallmark is its patented ‘Triple Box Wing’ for high lift and Very Short Take-Off and Landing (VSTOL). Faradair’s BEHA will also feature an all-composite fuselage configuration, contra-rotating propfans with ducting designed for low noise and increased efficiency, and over 1000 nm range depending on the configuration. This will all come at a predicted price tag of $4 million for those looking to invest in the state-of-the-art technology.
Why it’s important: As the Faradair BEHA is a ‘VSTOL’ aircraft, it is still certifiable to existing Part23 FAA standards. More importantly, it is both able to operate from existing airfields and integrate within existing air networks. With its low barrier to entry into commercial operation, and its predicted edge on the existing transportation methods with regards to speed, the Faradair BEHA is a practical engineering solution that has a place in the sky.
Sources // Flying Mag; Faradair