Trifan Effort Teams Up with Bye
George Bye, creator of the Sun Flyer electric trainer prototype, has teamed up with XTI Aircraft Company to accelerate development of a vertical takeoff and landing design with intention to seat six and cruise at business jet speed.
XTI Aircraft announced the partnership March 6, adding that the joining of Bye and his design team to the effort will expedite development and allow the first prototype to be built at full scale, rather than the 65 percent scale previously planned. The TriFan 600 also will now have a hybrid-electric propulsion system.
XTI is recruiting investors through conventional venture capital channels as well as online crowdfunding. They are developing the TriFan 600 to be able to take off and land vertically, then transition to more airplane-like flight as the ducted fans rotate, giving it an expected range of 1,200 miles. XTI expects the TriFan 600 to be able to climb to 35,000 feet in ten minutes. Bye’s own Sun Flyer, a two-seat, solar-electric trainer, aims to be the first American-made, practical, and all-electric trainer to reach the market. A maiden flight has not been announced, but ground testing began in 2016. XTI CEO Robert LaBelle stated in a press release, “We’re replacing the transmission, gears, two large heavier engines and other components with electric motors, batteries, generators, and a single smaller turboshaft engine.”
George Bye, founder, chairman, and CEO of Bye Aerospace, explained in the XTI news release. “Advanced electric power for aircraft makes the hybrid-electric configuration compelling for the TriFan. We can now bring together into one extraordinary airplane, battery power, electric motors, and a light efficient engine in a vertical takeoff and landing platform. The TriFan will achieve unprecedented performance and operating economy while being safer, lighter, quieter and cleaner. We’re very excited to team with XTI on this game-changing VTOL project.”