Bye Aerospace has closed on its latest round of funding as the company moves toward first flight of two prototypes—an electric flight training aircraft and electric unmanned aerial vehicle.                                                                       

Denver-based Bye has closed on a $5 million Series C funding round with Galileo Global Securities, an investment banking and advisory firm, and Ashanti Capital, an Australian-based stockbroking and advisory firm, as key participants.

The funding is an important milestone, said George Bye, Bye Aerospace CEO. “It’s not just a reflection of the product maturing. It’s also a reflection of the support from the investor community. We’re very pleased with both.”

The Sun Flyer 2, a two-seat electric flight training aircraft, is in the final stages of ground testing and is expected to fly for the first time this spring, Bye said.  It is intended to be the first certified electric general electric aircraft and targets the flight training market. It will have more than 3 hr. of flight endurance and climb more than 1,000 ft. per minute, Bye said.

The StratoAirNet, a high-altitude, long-endurance, solar-electric UAV, is also expected to make its first flight this spring.

The company is also developing a four-seat electric aircraft called the Sun Flyer 4. The aircraft will also appeal to pilot owners, it said.

The market is interested, as is the company, in the validation and performance that the new electric propulsion relies upon, Bye said.

First flight and testing will demonstrate the “remarkable contrast” between legacy aircraft and new generation electrical aircraft and the mechanical simplicity of electric propulsion systems on aircraft, which provides lower operating and maintenance costs, he said. In addition, the new propulsion system is clean and quiet.

“For our part of it, we can have such a positive impact on the environment and the noise,” Bye said.