China Permits Two-Seat Electric Aircraft

Jane Zhanf of Silk Wings Aviation (see note), an aircraft consulting firm, commented on an earlier post about the RX1E, an airplane designed by Shenyang University students and demonstrated at two airshows over the last two years.  Similar to the Yuneec (GreenWings) E430, it is a totally different design.

A two-electric airplane formation, complete with airshow smoke.  AirVenture 2013 had two GreenWings single seaters flying formaton.

A two-electric airplane formation, complete with airshow smoke. AirVenture 2013 had two GreenWings single seaters flying formaton.

CAAC (Civil Aviation Administration of China) just awarded[a]TDA (Type Design Approval) to them!

“By the way, Yuneec E430 is not widely known in China, not an excuse for the wrong claim of being #1 from China though.  (Editor’s Note: The E430 is being developed by GreenWings, now based in California.  It uses a Yuneec motor.)

“Given FAA and EASA don’t support electric SLSA (Special Light Sport Aircraft – allowed to be used for instruction by the FAA) yet (correct me if wrong), RX1E maybe world first “certified” electric LSA.”

The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has apparently allowed flights by the Pipistrel WattsUp at the Blois, France fly-in last year and demonstrations by Tine Tomazic at the airplane’s home field in Slovenia.

The Federal Aeronautics Administration currently doesn’t interfere with users flying single-seat electric aircraft, but does prohibit flight by two-seaters.  This will have to be sorted out before planned instructional aircraft from Airbus, Pipistrel and Aero Electric Aircraft Corporation become common sights in our skies.  It is interesting that China has led the U. S. in this innovative arena.

Note: “Silk Wings Aviation is a San Francisco-based provider of specialized merger & acquisition consulting and general aviation consulting services with a focus on China’s emerging General Aviation industry. Our clients include manufacturers, training organizations, design and engineering firms, and aviation-related real estate ventures.”

Information Added  February 13, 2015: 

Thomas Boyle made this clarification: ” You’re almost right. The FAA will allow single-seat aircraft, but not two-seaters, and you cannot certificate even a single-seater as E-LSA or S-LSA. Also, no-one operating under Sport Pilot privileges can fly an aircraft with an electric motor, even if it is normally certificated and otherwise meets the light-sport definition. A consequence of this is that if AEAC is able to certificate its electric trainer, pilots flying on Sport Pilot privileges will not be legal to fly them.”

Bill Lofton, who edits EV Hangar, shared these two entries:

“I looked recently and couldn’t find any evidence that the draft update to 8130.2 (prohibiting carrying passengers in electric aircraft) has been made final.

http://www.evhangar.com/going-electric/8130-2h-draft-update/

“As far as I know, Yuneec/GreenWing can still fly two people in their N-numbered e430/GW430 prototypes in California.”

http://www.evhangar.com/aircraft/prototype-aircraft/e430/

There’s still a bit of fog over this issue that’s important to those of us in the electric aircraft movement.

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Thomas 02/13/2015, 7:22 am

    You’re almost right. The FAA will allow single-seat aircraft, but not two-seaters, and you cannot certificate even a single-seater as E-LSA or S-LSA. Also, no-one operating under Sport Pilot privileges can fly an aircraft with an electric motor, even if it is normally certificated and otherwise meets the light-sport definition. A consequence of this is that if AEAC is able to certificate its electric trainer, pilots flying on Sport Pilot privileges will not be legal to fly them.

  • Thomas Boyle 02/17/2015, 5:55 am

    I queried the FAA about the proposed modified 8130.2 order and received an answer that read, in part, “The policy for electrics is not new, it has been in place since 2011. That policy was primarily put in place because there are many unknowns with this technology. That said, we have learned a lot since 2011 and that policy is under review.”

  • Jane Zhang 02/26/2015, 12:51 pm

    Thanks for the note. Sorry I misspelled my own name typing on my phone. I was quite surprised that CAAC not only recognizes F2840 but allows it to be part of SLSA TDA process. I checked CAAC TDA rules for LSA dated Jan 2014 (AP-21-AA-2014-37), in deed F2840 was mentioned. From the dates on TDA approval, RX1E applied back in Nov 2012, so it seems that it took CAAC a while to incorporate F2840 into LSA TDA process, but it did. I have a copy of RX1E TDA approval if anyone is interested to see. Mr. Yang, the head of this project is a well known and well connected airplane designer in China.

Leave a Comment