Ready for the Tesla of the Skies?

SAE’s Electric Aircraft Steering Group brings together technical experts, researchers and regulatory personnel to define best practices for the development of electrical systems for tomorrow’s aircraft. Newer Boeing and Airbus models already feature electric braking and, flight control actuators. Replacing traditional hydraulic and pneumatic systems, they could offer 3% fuel savings. While the technology for hybrid and fully electric aircraft propulsion is not yet available, industry leaders are looking in this direction. Rolls-Royce, GE and other major engine manufacturers are examining possibilities. According to SAE’s David Alexander, we may see a regional 100-passenger airliner with hybrid engines sometime after 2030. There is also input from outside the aerospace sector—Siemens is one example—and new players like AeroMobil. Crossover technology from the auto industry is also playing a role, adding to this high-flying synergy.

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