BlackBird Partners, an Uber-like service providing flights in private aircraft via a smartphone app, has agreed to buy a fleet of electric-powered light aircraft now under development by Bye Aerospace.                                                                       

San Francisco-based BlackBird, which raised $10 million in Series A funding in March, plans to buy 10 two-seat eFlyer2s and the first 100 four-seat eFlyer4s produced by Denver-based Bye.

BlackBird’s first eFlyer is scheduled to begin customer demonstrations in 2020. Bye is flying the proof-of-concept eFlyer2, and plans to be the first to certify an electric aircraft under FAA Part 23 regulations.

Using the app, users can book a seat or a complete flight in a light aircraft flown under Part 135 operating rules by BlackBird’s partners. Seats are available at prices as low as $50, the company says.

“BlackBird will be placing these aircraft with our primary operational partners in every region of the U.S.,” CEO Rudd Davis says. “This is something we already do with conventional aircraft, connect operators with airplanes so we can provide them more demand.”

Bye has already begun certification of the eFlyer2, and will shortly begin certification of the eFlyer4, which it says is the first four-seat all-electric aircraft on the market. “At less than $50 an hour to operate, the eFlyer 4 is the future of aviation,” Davis says.

Bye says the energy cost for the battery-powered eFlyer 4 is four times lower per mile than driving a conventional car per mile, while the aircraft is three times faster than a car and generates significantly less noise that a conventional piston-powered light aircraft. 

“Our goal in launching the eFlyer is to renew general aviation with clean technology that provides a very low operating cost,” CEO George Bye says.

BlackBird offers operators increased utilization by filling empty seats on flights from 50-300 mi. The company currently offers flights in the Cirrus SR22 and other privately owned aircraft. All flights are flown by commercially certified pilots.

“Bye Aerospace’s charging stations don’t require installation as they are mobile, but we will have them at the most popular airports in each region. We will launch in California first,” Davis says. “We are targeting middle to late next year to launch the service.”