Aircraft

Elfly project will link Norwegian cities with electric seaplanes

Elfly project will link Norweg...
Elfly's Byfly seaplane has a planned top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), and should cruise at 250 km/h (155 mph)
Elfly's Byfly seaplane has a planned top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), and should cruise at 250 km/h (155 mph)
View 2 Images
Elfly's Byfly seaplane has a planned top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), and should cruise at 250 km/h (155 mph)
1/2
Elfly's Byfly seaplane has a planned top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph), and should cruise at 250 km/h (155 mph)
The Byfly's hull design is presently in its fourth version
2/2
The Byfly's hull design is presently in its fourth version

Norway has a lot of coastline and many fjords, but not much in the way of flat, open ground on which to build runways. That's where the Elfly project comes in, as it's developing a short-haul electric seaplane that can take off and land in city harbours.

The basic idea is that instead of having to traipse to and from airports located out in the countryside – which would be difficult to build – passengers will simply travel between sea terminals in city centers, from which fleets of Elfly's Byfly seaplanes will be based. Because the aircraft will be equipped with relatively quiet-running electric motors, engine noise shouldn't be a problem.

The nine-passenger Byfly can in fact be described as a flying boat, in that it will float mainly on its boat-like hull instead of a set of pontoons. That hull is currently in development at Norway's SINTEF research institute, where scale models are being towed across the surface of a 260-meter (853-ft) water tank.

The Byfly's hull design is presently in its fourth version
The Byfly's hull design is presently in its fourth version

It should be noted that there will be small pontoons at the ends of the wings, to stabilize the plane when taking off and landing. Additionally, retractable wheels will allow it to use traditional runways when necessary.

Two 825-kW wing-mounted pusher-prop motors will take the Byfly up to a top speed of 300 km/h (186 mph). They will be powered by a lithium battery bank, which should deliver an operational range of up to 250 km (155 miles) per charge – that figure is likely to increase as battery technology advances. Depending on factors such as the distance of the flight, the cockpit can be configured for either one or two pilots.

Plans call for a full-scale prototype to be operational within three years, thanks in part to NOK 16 million (about US$1,650,070) in funding from the Research Council of Norway. It is hoped that 15 to 20 of the aircraft will be in commercial use by 2030.

"The goal is to be able to provide flexible mobility in Norway, with zero emissions and significantly reduced noise pollution, and also develop new, sustainable business models," said Elfly CEO Eric Lithun.

For now, you can see a one-tenth scale model in flight, in the video below.

Electric seaplane, Byfly (X10), Norwegian flying boat concept

Sources: Elfly, SINTEF

6 comments
6 comments
minivini
Seems like wet takeoff would be one area where tilt-prop vtol or stol would be a huge advantage. I’d like to know the actual difference in efficiency lost to aquatic drag vs the power taken to lift vertically.

It also seems like landing safety would be an issue, too. In a traditional fixed wing aircraft, takeoff and landing are the two places where emergencies or errors are the most problematic. Landing in chop is especially precarious. Setting down vertically eliminates that danger except in particularly bad seas. Then landing vertically on the ground would be an easy plan B.
John S
There is enough equipment on the market, that should be a no brainer. The aircraft industry has years and years of water takeoff and landing experience, I believe three years of dragging a fuselage across water is not needed. The only hold up for this which electric motor and battery combo will reliably work.
Chunk Applegrabber
This also seems like a great place for the ammonia-powered planes that Australia's 'Aviation H2' is working on.
paul314
Norway has a lot of relatively sheltered water. All those fjords and lakes. It looks as if this is another attempt to get around the convoluted coastline and mountainous interior -- a lot of places the straight-line distance between towns is a small fraction of the road distance, much less the distance by water.
christopher
Fun fact: it is the propellers that make the noise, rarely ever the engines.
michael_dowling
Chunk Applegrabber: Yes,ammonia could be the answer to H2 distribution to fuel existing aircraft engines,which would be hugely attractive to airlines for obvious reasons. The only fly in the ointment would be that ammonia combustion produces NxOs as well,which Aviation H2 believes can be fixed. https://newatlas.com/aircraft/aviation-h2-ammonia-fuel-jet-aircraft/