Diamond’s eDA40 and its Electric Ambitions

Dean Sigler Batteries, Diesel Powerplants, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Austria’s Diamond Aircraft launched its eDA40 last year, headed toward becoming “The first EASA/FAA (European Aviation Safety Agency/Federal Aviation Agency) Part 23 certified electric airplane with DC fast charging. Electric Power Systems’ DC fast charging system is capable of turning around a depleted aircraft in under 20 minutes.”

Austria’s Diamond Aircraft has been developing environmentally responsible aircraft for the last several decades, starting with the hydrogen fuel cell-powered HK-36 in 2008.  Diamond promoted its work with Boeing Phantom Works as emitting nothing more than waste heat and water vapor, demonstrating “technology that may result in cleaner APU’s (auxiliary Power Units) for commercial aircraft of the future.”

HEMEP was early hybrid development, with twin motors on stalks, generator in nose cone

Diamond went beyond that over the next decade, using the HK-36 as a testbed for various hybrid and electric power variants.  In 2018, things had evolved to the HEMEP (Hybrid Electric Multi Engine Flying), a serial hybrid with two Siemens (now Rolls-Royce) motors on nose-mounted stalks powered by an internal combustion engine in the nose cone.

Diamond espouses the goal of achieving, “A carbon responsible solution, offering a significant reduction to our already low emissions and noise signature; Diamond’s aircraft are a sustainable electric solution for the General Aviation market of tomorrow.”

eDA40All-Electric Aircraft

“Eco-conscious and cost effective,” the eDA40 is “derivative” of the already certified DA40 platform, and “will be the first EASA/FAA Part 23 certified electric airplane with DC fast charging.”

Designed to be an excellent trainer for circuits around the airport and limited cross-country flights of up to 90 minutes, the eDA40 has already flown and will be certified by 2024.

ENGINeUS is Safran’s electric engine range. These engines’ power electronics are directly built into the equipment, making them both compact and powerful. Copyright:Thierry Mamberti / Safran

Powered by a Safran ENGINeUSTM electric smart motor of 130 kilowatts (174 horsepower) maximum takeoff power featuring a fully-integrated motor controller and “optimized” air-cooling system, the unit is slated for certification mid-year.

Batteries will be Electric Power Systems’ EPiC™ technology, including battery modules, high voltage battery power management units, service disconnects, low voltage power distribution, ventilation, and installation kits.

A collaboration between Diamond, EPS, and Safran results in the eDA40

Diamond and Epic claim their DC fast charging system can recharge a depleted aircraft in under 20 minutes.  This will make fast turnarounds a valuable part of Diamond’s training program with Lufthansa.

Lufthansa Training and Diamond

Diamond and Lufthansa Aviation Training (LAT) are establishing s partnership in Grenchen, Switzerland to develop a sustainable aviation training program.  Since Lufthansa already uses DA40’s and DA42’s in its programs at their flight schools in Rostock, Germany and Grenchen, transitions from the gasoline and Diesel-powered craft to the new technology should be reasonably easy,

According to the partners, “The eDA40 will be tested at Lufthansa’s base in Grenchen, and results will be used to develop the aircraft further for flight training and possible use in a mixed training fleet with conventional piston-powered DA40 NGs. Lufthansa said that under its plan to be the eDA40 launch customer in the European Union, it expects to buy a number of the aircraft for its flight training program and to comply with Lufthansa Group’s sustainability targets.”

Matthias Spohr, CEO of LAT, reflects on the ongoing relation with Diamond and says, “I am very pleased that with the signing of the LOI for the all-electric eDA40, we are now jointly opening a groundbreaking chapter in the topic of sustainability.”

Liqun (Frank) Zhang, CEO of Diamond Aircraft Austria, adds,  “Creating an eco-conscious and cost-effective option for the training market has always been at the core of Diamond Aircraft. The eDA40 with its proven airframe, the quick recharge capability and the low operating cost will be an excellent aircraft for LAT’s carbon neutral approach. With our agreement we expect a huge step towards a greener aviation future and to develop the most advanced electric training aircraft in the world.”

With both partners committed to achieving the targets of the European Green Deal and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s (EASA’s) sustainable Aviation Program, We should see meaningful changes in flight training and sustainable flight soon.

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