Eviation, the Israel-based developer of the Alice 11-seat electric aircraft, has teamed up with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) on research and development of its all-electric aircraft technologies. The program, involving fourth-year undergraduate engineering students, will launch in the spring at ERAU’s Prescott, Arizona campus.
Students will focus on performance analysis, validation, and testing along with future electric propulsion and airframe design concepts, participating in preliminary design and sub-scale testing.
“By including Embry-Riddle engineers and students in the R&D pool, Eviation and the Alice Aircraft will take advantage of the exposure and knowledge from our best and brightest engineers,” said Embry-Riddle chancellor Frank Ayers.
Founded in 2015, Eviation is anticipating the debut of the Alice commuter aircraft during the 53rd Paris Air Show in June 2019 with first flight coming after the show. Much of the flight testing will take place in Prescott, with plans calling for three flying prototypes by the second quarter of 2020, Eviation CEO Omer Bar-Yohay told AIN. He estimated the certification program should last 24 to 36 months.
The aircraft will be built using technology available today, Bar-Yohay said. Honeywell is supplying flight control systems and Siemens the electric engines. With a composite body, the Alice leverages thermal management and distributed electric propulsion, as well as autonomous landing technologies. The aircraft is designed to carry up to nine passengers 650 miles with a single charge. Eviation expects the charging stations will be mobile, similar to aviation fuel trucks, he said. A half-hour charge would equal one hour in the aircraft.
Eviation has secured an unidentified launch customer for the Alice and is eyeing other future projects, he said.
ERAU is "instrumental for certification since it is a brain powerhouse and can be used to source personnel for Eviation,” Bar-Yohay added. "With one of the oldest and most well-respected universities at the helm, we’re confident that the Alice Aircraft is in good hands and we look forward to partnering with the prestigious university.”