The Light Aircraft Association has produced a new LAA Technical Leaflet, TL 3.28, to offer technical information on electric aircrafts power units, their design and installation in smaller light aircraft.
The Technical Leaflet is part of a library of advice prepared by LAA Engineers, which can be accessed via ‘Aircraft & Technical’ area of the LAA website. These include advice on building, buying or importing an aircraft; operating an aircraft on an LAA permit; and aircraft modifications and repairs.
“In recent years, there has been a steady increase in interest in electric power for aircraft, partly driven by the developments in the automotive sector,” says LAA CEO Steve Slater. “It’s a fast-developing area and while we have acquired a lot of knowledge on operating internal combustion engine aircraft over the years, the knowledge base for electric power is inevitably much smaller.”
LAA engineering staff began looking at electric aircraft projects back in 2016 and have discussed building a proof of concept aircraft using an electric motorcycle power unit mated to a Rans S-6 airframe. However, it was discovered that the weight versus power, and cost of the technology available at the time just did not add up. Since then technologies have continued to develop, and several LAA members are now exploring exciting new electric propulsion projects.
LAA Engineers Mike Roberts and Joe Hadley have been closely involved in these new projects and are the authors of the Technical Leaflet. The LAA advises that the document isn’t a ‘how to’ on building electric aircraft, but has been written to serve as a starting point for those LAA members considering converting aircraft to electric propulsion and for anyone considering designing an electric powered aircraft or propulsion system in the future.
Recent LAA Light Aviation magazines have focussed on various ‘green aviation’ issues including the proportionally minor environmental impact of recreational flying, maximising the environmental benefits of airfields as ‘green open spaces’ and in the forthcoming July edition, a further article on electric aviation.