We wrote on this blog about electric cars, motorcycles and other vehicles. Flight Design, a German company, is testing a hybrid motor for an airplane.
“Like cars, aircraft need the most power to get going, take off and climb. Planes need much less power for cruising. Flight Design’s engine uses a 40-hp electric motor directly connected to a normal gasoline-burning 115-hp Rotax 914 airplane engine via belt drive to provide about five minutes of boost power.
The pilot pushes the single power lever forward for takeoff, and both motors are running to provide the equivalent of a 160-hp engine. Once the four-seat airplane is at altitude, the pilot reduces power for cruise and the electric engine is no longer delivering power. This leaves a 115-hp gasoline engine to provide the cruise power, which is more efficient than the 160-hp engine the hybrid system replaces.
Like its car cousin, the aircraft engine can also use regenerative braking. When a pilot reduces power for descent, the windmilling propeller is used to recharge the battery pack for the next flight.”
(Hat tip David)