The Hybraero H600 Hybrid Engine is a brand new lightweight, powerful, aviation engine
Whilst the general aviation market has moved forward in terms of new aircraft and construction techniques, the one area that has lagged behind is propulsion. Vintage designs of heavy, inefficient, Avgas based propositions have dominated the larger piston engine market for 40 years and more. The new Hybraero H600 hybrid engine is a 21st century propulsion system designed to sit within existing six cylinder engine footprints.
This innovative and exciting engine is being designed by world class motorsport engineering and advanced technology firm – Prodrive.
Based on their years of experience building high tech, lightweight and powerful engines for World Rally Championship programmes for the likes of Subaru and Mini, along with World Endurance sportscar racing engines for Aston Martin and many other race series around the world, Prodrive is going to deliver a new engine that combines a clean sheet design, internal combustion engine (ICE) capable of 300hp to be used in combination with twin electric motors able to deliver 300hp. The total output for this new hybrid engine is forecasted to be around 600hp when it begins testing next year (2017).
One of the greatest problems for any single engine pilot around the world, is the fear of non-recoverable engine shut down. Once that engine is shut down, the aircraft will come down within its glideslope radius. Over 350 pilots lives have been saved with the introduction of ballistic parachute recovery systems, but the new Hybraero H600 hybrid engine, could allow pilots to switch to electric power for up to 10 minutes worth of flight time, enabling them to select a safe landing area without the need to resort to the safety parachute.
The other major bugbear for many pilots is the use of Avgas. The H600 engine will use JetA1 fuel as the primary fuel source, delivering large cost savings over equivalent Avgas based engines. With maximum take off power in excess of many turboprops, yet offering the efficiency of a modern piston engine design, this new engine is designed to be a direct replacement for many existing engines. For those pilots looking to lower their carbon footprint, they will be able to run Biojet fuel as and when it is available, to help lower their emissions profile further.
One of the most incredible features of this new engine will be the weight. The H600 is forecasted to weigh less than the 250kgs of some current 300hp diesel engines, except the H600 will achieve this inclusive of the batteries required to achieve up to 10 minutes of electric flight time. Pilots will have the choice whether to use the electric motors to save fuel whilst taxiing and during take-off to reduce fuel burn and noise, or they may choose to keep the electric power in reserve in case of primary power source failure with no extra weight penalty.
The ICE element of the H600 engine will recharge the battery of the electric motors when used in primary flight conditions, thus delivering a different proposition to many of the ‘Electric’ focused engines now coming available. The problem all electric propulsion systems face remains battery technology. For up to an hour of flight time, most aircraft need in excess of 250kgs of batteries and that simply does not make any sense in the market today. As battery technology improves, so will the viability of all electric flight, until then, hybrid solutions can provide a stepping stone transition to cleaner, quieter, more efficient flight.
The H600 engine has been designed for the Faradair BEHA aircraft, however we believe the opportunity for other General Aviation manufacturers will be significant, including helicopter manufacturers, due to the small size and weight of the new H600 engine. The ability to have 10 minutes of back-up flight time for a helicopter in the event of a primary power failure is likely to be extremely attractive to many owner operators.
Further details about the exact configuration and battery capabilities will be made available over the coming months, prior to the engine test runs. Faradair® Aerospace is handling all commercial and funding activities relating to the engine and further partners will be announced in due course. For all further information, please contact Faradair®