Bye Cites Progress On Certification Plans For eFlyer Trainer

Safran is providing the electric propulsion unit for Bye’s eFlyer 2 two-seat trainer.
Credit: Bye Aerospace

After disruptions and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bye Aerospace and the FAA are finalizing certification plans for the eFlyer 2 electric trainer, keeping the company on course to have the first electric aircraft certified under Part 23 Amendment 64 airworthiness regulations.

Bye says it is nearing completion of FAA approval of its means of compliance and certification plans for the eFlyer 2. The company initiated the Part 23 Amendment 64 process in April 2108 and was the first applicant for certification of an all-electric Level 1 aircraft under the then-new FAA rules.

Amid reports of layoffs, CEO George Bye said the company has been downsized to focus financial resources on completing approval of the means of compliance. Manufacture of the first conforming eFlyer 2 is underway, he says, but more capital will be needed to build the second and third aircraft required for certification testing.

The overhaul of FAA Part 23 rules for general aviation aircraft took effect in September 2017 and replaced prescriptive requirements with performance-based standards and consensus-based compliance methods. This was intended to ease the introduction of new technologies such as electric propulsion. Bye is the first to put the new process through its paces for a fixed-wing electric aircraft.

After delays, Bye has received FAA approval of its G-1 certification basis and G-2 determination of compliance issue papers. “The full means of compliance and certification have been divided into 16 specific plans (SSCP) covering the full range of systems and procedures,” the company says.

“Fifteen of those plans have received FAA approval of the means of compliance and we anticipate the last SSCP should receive full approval by the end of July. This will represent the first such approval by the FAA under Amendment 64 for a Level 1 electric aircraft,” the company says. Once all the means of compliance and certification plans have been approved, Bye will be ready to enter the testing and compliance demonstration phases of the certification. 

The electric trainer market is becoming increasingly active. After acquiring Pipistrel in April, Textron eAviation is helping the Slovenian company certify its Velis Electro trainer in the U.S. The Velis Electro was the first electric aircraft to receive type certification, from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) in June 2020 under light sport aircraft rules. Austria’s Diamond Aircraft is developing the eDA40 electric trainer version of its DA40 for EASA CS-23/FAA Part 23 certification.

Graham Warwick

Graham leads Aviation Week's coverage of technology, focusing on engineering and technology across the aerospace industry, with a special focus on identifying technologies of strategic importance to aviation, aerospace and defense.