Flying—and flight training—is expensive. These days, estimates on the total operating cost for a Cessna 172 run between $80-$100 per hour. So how would the aviation industry change if that number could be reduced by roughly 80 percent?
Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation (AEAC) is working hard to find out. The company is saying that its Sun Flyer 2, a two-seat, all-electric VFR trainer, is operating at around $16 per hour. The Sun Flyer 4, AEAC’s recently announced four-seat IFR version (and more direct 172 competitor), is expected to run somewhere in the neighborhood of $17.80 an hour.
The dramatic reduction in cost is primarily a matter of power: both Sun Flyer models are entirely electric. While they’re not necessarily going to be good for long hauls—the SF 2 will supposedly have an endurance of 3 hours and the SF 4, 4 hours—AEAC is already finding a market with flight training providers interested in cost-effective aircraft.
The Sun Flyer 2 has completed ground testing and aiming for a first flight in a few months. Both models have a max cruise speed of 120 knots and are equipped with a ballistic parachute recovery system. The purchase price of the SF 2 is $249,000. The SF 4 will launch with a price of $349,000.
Learn more at Sunflyer.com.