After two eventful years of concept development and preliminary design, during which we were able to find many partners from industry and science and build a motivated team, the FVA-30 is now in the final realization phase. On this blog, we present selected milestones of our development work as well as the upcoming construction phase, following up on the Critical Design Review (CDR) completed in mid-2019.
The FVA-30 is a twin-engine (hybrid) electric powered glider with a V-tail configuration that will serve as a research platform for testing alternative propulsion concepts in aviation. With the ambitious goal “From Aachen to Berlin – faster and more efficient than by car”, we want to prove the efficiency advantages of hybrid flight systems and demonstrate them on a realistic scenario. To this end, the entire aircraft design has been optimized in such a way that the advantages resulting from the electric propulsion system (high power density of batteries and electric motors) can be exploited for substantial efficiency gains (e.g. by repositioning and enlarging the propellers).
In the first phase of the project, the FVA-30 is to be operated as a purely battery-electric aircraft and certified in accordance with CS-22 (certification regulations for motor gliders) and CS-23 (certification regulations for small motorized aircraft) as part of a single-unit certification. We have been in close contact with the German Federal Aviation Authority (LBA) for some time now. The adoption of components from the e-Genius project of the University of Stuttgart (e.g. the wing surfaces) simplifies the verification for the preliminary certification. The battery system will be designed in accordance with the requirement for purely battery-electric self-launch capability and should ensure a climb to 1000 meters altitude with a subsequent cruise flight of 15 minutes under pessimistic conditions.
In the second phase of the project, the FVA-30 is to be augmented with a range extender (REX) in the sense of a serial-hybrid powertrain. The REX is to be fed via a bivalent fuel system consisting of liquid fuel tanks in the wings or, in the final expansion stage, pressurized methane tanks which will be attached as wingpods. Appropriate provisions are already being made for this as part of the wing design. In hybrid-electric operation with constant cruise power fed solely by the REX, ranges of over 650 km at a cruise speed of 150-200 km/h should then be possible.
As a public and non-competitive project, we are pleased to share some findings, developments and results here. In particular, we welcome all suggestions, questions, interested parties for project partnerships and of course motivated students, who we would like to welcome to our team.
More information about the project can be found on the project page of the FVA.