A group of students at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) want to design a sustainable alternative to commercial aeroplanes.
The Falcon Electric Aviation team has therefore begun working on an aeroplane powered by electricity. They take their inspiration from electric car manufacturer, Tesla.
‘Two years ago, we sat together with a few friends and talked about energy transition. All kinds of sustainable solutions exist for cars and buses, but there are not many for aircrafts and boats,’ says Brandon van Schaik, the team’s co-founder.
Designing and building a certificated aeroplane is a long and expensive process. The students therefore decided to convert an existing aeroplane instead of building one from scratch. The aeroplane that the students will convert is a Cessna 150, a two-person plane often used to train pilots.
Van Schaik says that, as well as the environmental benefits, electric aeroplanes are a worthwhile financial investment. As electricity is much cheaper than kerosene fuel, buyers can earn back the money that they spent on buying an electric aeroplane within four or five years.
Maintaining an electric vehicle is much easier than maintaining a fuel engine, too, van Schaik adds.
The converted aeroplane should be ready in just over six months. The project is financially supported by Metropool Regio Eindhoven, an organisation that funds innovative projects in the Eindhoven area.
Translation: Rachael Vickerman