George E. Bye. CEO and founder of Bye Aerospace, is on a roll these days, selling a large number of SunFlyer 2 training aircraft, delivering Silent Falcon solar electric unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), partnering in the TriFan 600 project with XTI Aircraft, and overseeing the first flight of the StratoAirNet prototype.
A letter from Diane Simard, Senior Vice President of Bye Aerospace, Inc., reports “the successful completion of the first flight of the solar electric technology demonstrator prototype for its “StratoAirNet” and “Solesa” families of medium-altitude aircraft systems.” Flying from the Northern Colorado Regional Airport, north of Loveland, the sailplane-based optionally-piloted vehicle has made additional flights since its maiden outing.
Bye expressed happiness at the event and gave thanks to those who made it possible. “It was a great day for solar-electric aviation. My thanks to our entire team for their persistence and extra efforts to achieve this milestone. I would also like to thank the professionals at Northern Colorado Regional Airport for their cooperation in making these flights possible.” He also credits Greg Cole of Windward Performance, noting “We are grateful for his help with the developmental prototype!”
Two forms of this long-endurance flight approach are on the horizon. Both systems will provide support for extended “…endurance commercial and government security requirements, including patrol, observation, utility, mapping, precision agriculture, search and rescue and surveillance missions,” according to the company.
The Solesa aircraft system will be piloted, performing patrol and survey missions for shorter flight durations. It will find use as an R&D test platform for new customer payloads. StratoAirNet will fly longer-endurance UAV missions following required steps before going on to even longer and more arduous tasks or carrying newly installed systems.
Bye Aerospace explains, “Both StratoAirNet and Solesa offer unique advantages over traditional systems, including lower unit cost, lower heat and noise signatures, lower operating costs and enhanced utility. Bye Aerospace is collaborating with SolAero Technologies Corp, integrating their advanced high-efficiency solar cell technologies on the advanced graphite composite wing.”
SolAero’s solar cells, both four-junction and triple-junction designs, can operate at up to 32-percent efficiency and produce up to 150 Watts per kilogram. Terrestrial models can achieve up to 39-percent efficiency.
About Bye Aerospace, Inc.
Bye is a busy company, as noted above. Their web site includes this description: “Bye Aerospace is developing the “Sun Flyer” family of all-electric aircraft in addition to a family of advanced, high-altitude, long-endurance solar-electric aircraft called ‘StratoAirNet’ and ‘Solesa.’ The company was named the 2018 Small Business of the Year in the “small business” category by the Denver Business Journal. For more information, go to www.ByeAerospace.com.”