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Electric-Powered C-172?

October 21, 2010 — Might an electric-powered Cessna 172 be in your future? That’s the dream of Bye Energy, which is developing an electric hybrid propulsion system for a Cessna 172 Skyhawk. Bye Energy hopes to fly an electric-powered, proof-of-concept Skyhawk demonstrator in the first quarter of 2011.

The collaboration between Bye Energy and the Cessna Aircraft Company was announced at this week’s NBAA convention, with George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy, and former Cessna president Charlie Johnson fielding questions at Cessna’s booth. Bye Energy’s target market is new Cessna 172s as well as retrofitting of the 43,000 existing Cessna 172s. Bye is also looking at retrofitting other general aviation aircraft, initially in the U.S. and then in Europe. The Cessna 172, the most popular training aircraft in history, would be matched with a modern, turbine-like, high-tech, zero emission, low operating cost electric propulsion system.

Bye said, “This is an ambitious effort, but we are continuing to uncover additional efficiencies with electric-powered flight.”

Cessna President and CEO Jack J. Pelton commented, “Bye Energy’s progress toward first flight of an electric 172 is encouraging news for the future of mainstream general aviation.”

Bye Energy, based on Centennial Airport in Englewood, Colorado, is a developer of clean, alternative energy technologies. The initiative is part of The Green Flight Project, a joint effort between alternative energy and aerospace industries supporting the creation of an electric hybrid propulsion system for aviation.

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