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Hybrid Flight Takes Off

This past November, Erv Portman attended the Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology Summit (EHATS) in Bremen, Germany.

EHATS is a rare opportunity for the aerospace designers and engineers to analyze and discuss what it’ll take to move to hybrid, or even all electric, commercial flight. Never considered the idea of electric flight? Just like automobiles, electric aircraft make much better use of our resources and have significantly less impact on the environment.

Beyond that, electric aircraft also reduce noise on a scale beyond the reduction heard with electric automobiles. This certainly benefits passengers, but electric aircraft could open the possibility to serving more territory—at more times—because they run nearly silent.

“The Bremen conference provided great discussion on this emerging trend, and WestStar is prepared to help bring this technology forward,” Erv said. “Our rapid prototype capability can manufacture early stage concepts, and transfer those that work, to production systems quickly.” Erv continued, “We look forward to working with global thought leaders to bring this technology to life.”

While fully electric commercial flights may be a bit further in the future, one carrier, EasyJet,  will begin hybridizing their fleet as early as this year. Just this month, easyJet announced their plans to start trials on a unique hydrogen fuel and photovoltaic system on their existing planes.

Designed chiefly to replace the need for jet fuel during very inefficient taxiing procedures, this new system’s only waste is clean, clear water.

“Both the conference and the EasyJet announcement show how aerospace manufacturers are changing to more environmentally sustainable ways to fuel the planes of the future,” Erv said. “WestStar is changing how aerospace parts are made with our Apex, North Carolina manufacturing plant generating a majority of our daytime power from the sunshine off our roof. The industry is changing how planes will be powered in the future, WestStar is using solar to power our plant today.”

Find out more about the Electric & Hybrid Aerospace Technology Summit at their site. Read more about easyJet’s hybrid fleet announcement.