Aircraft

Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft concept aims to quietly rule the skies

Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft c...
The Faradair BEHA concept is intended to be one of the world’s quietest, most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft ever created (Image: Faradair)
The Faradair BEHA concept is intended to be one of the world’s quietest, most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft ever created (Image: Faradair)
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The BEHA has electric ducted fans (Image: Faradair)
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The BEHA has electric ducted fans (Image: Faradair)
Solar panels are on the topside of all lifting surfaces (Image: Faradair)
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Solar panels are on the topside of all lifting surfaces (Image: Faradair)
The BEHA has triple box wings (Image: Faradair)
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The BEHA has triple box wings (Image: Faradair)
The Faradair BEHA concept has a large rear ducted pusher propeller (Image: Faradair)
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The Faradair BEHA concept has a large rear ducted pusher propeller (Image: Faradair)
Landing and take off are proposed to be under electric power (Image: Faradair)
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Landing and take off are proposed to be under electric power (Image: Faradair)
The concept proposes to include a range of energy recovery techniques (Image: Faradair)
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The concept proposes to include a range of energy recovery techniques (Image: Faradair)
The BEHA concept aims to meet many light aircraft operational needs (Image: Faradair)
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The BEHA concept aims to meet many light aircraft operational needs (Image: Faradair)
Triple box wings are a striking feature of he concept (Image: Faradair)
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Triple box wings are a striking feature of he concept (Image: Faradair)
Seen from above, the solar panels are clearly visible (Image: Faradair)
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Seen from above, the solar panels are clearly visible (Image: Faradair)
Combined bio-diesel/electric propulsion is proposed to power the BEHA concept (Image: Faradair)
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Combined bio-diesel/electric propulsion is proposed to power the BEHA concept (Image: Faradair)
The BEHA concept is designed to have high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities (Image: Faradair)
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The BEHA concept is designed to have high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities (Image: Faradair)
The rear ducted rear pusher propeller (Image: Faradair)
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The rear ducted rear pusher propeller (Image: Faradair)
The BEHA concept is designed to have high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities (Image: Faradair)
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The BEHA concept is designed to have high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities (Image: Faradair)
The de Havilland Dragon Rapide: the inspiration for the BEHA concept (Photo: Faradair)
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The de Havilland Dragon Rapide: the inspiration for the BEHA concept (Photo: Faradair)
The Faradair BEHA concept is intended to be one of the world’s quietest, most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft ever created (Image: Faradair)
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The Faradair BEHA concept is intended to be one of the world’s quietest, most efficient and environmentally friendly aircraft ever created (Image: Faradair)

Touted as the world's first true hybrid aircraft, the Faradair BEHA (Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft) is a triple box-wing design concept that combines electric motors and a bio-diesel engine. Fitted with a range of energy conservation and recovery technologies, including solar panels on all flight surfaces and high-lift, low-speed flight capabilities, the BEHA is intended to be one of the world’s most environmentally friendly aircraft.

Aimed at the traditional multi-role light aircraft market, the BEHA concept is premised for a range of operations with lower cost overheads and minimal environmental effect. Included in a potential list of users are those who are engaged in inter-city travel, operate flight schools, run observation and emergency services, or simply want a low running cost aircraft for recreational use.

To this end, the designers of the BEHA claim that their concept electric design offers true "hybrid" dual-fuel capability with a combined bio-diesel/electric propulsion combination that will put it into a different league from currently available electric aircraft, by no longer requiring ground-based recharging. As such, it is intended that the Faradair craft also employ such energy recovery technologies as all flight surfaces being skinned with solar panels, along with wind-turbine technology to allow battery-charging for the vehicle whilst it is in-flight or on the ground.

The plan is to equip the BEHA concept with twin electric fan motors (from the company's renderings, somewhat similar in appearance to those used on the recently flown Airbus E-Fan electric aircraft) that deliver some 200 hp (150 kW) each, in combination with a similarly powerful bio-diesel generator incorporating a ducted pusher propeller. Designed to take off and land using electric power, the bio-diesel engine is intended to recharge the batteries whilst the craft is cruising to increase the overall performance and flying time.

"Markets will be opened up as this lightweight, state-of-the-art, carbon fiber, high-lift designed aircraft will negate night flight restrictions and pollution concerns," says Neil Cloughley, Managing Director of Faradair Aerospace Limited. "Its truly radical and futuristic design aims to follow in the footsteps of other great aviation achievements by becoming a game changing aircraft that helps transform aviation as we know it today."

Solar panels are on the topside of all lifting surfaces (Image: Faradair)
Solar panels are on the topside of all lifting surfaces (Image: Faradair)

The inspiration for the BEHA was the de Havilland Dragon Rapide, an iconic British design from the 1930s. With a large surface area from its three lift surfaces, combined with an efficiency-enhancing box wing design that reduces turbulent airflow, the makers of the BEHA also hope to emulate the popularity and success of their design's inspiration as a comfortable, smooth flying model of light commercial transport.

A range of active and passive safety features are promised, including a ballistic parachute recovery system, high-impact capability crash protection (apparently modeled on Formula One motor racing technology), the ability to run on fewer than its full complement of engines, and a high-efficiency glide capability that allows longer unpowered flight in the unlikely event that all engines fail.

And – perhaps most interesting of all – the ultimate safety feature: If anything should happen to the pilot and he is unable to fly the plane, Faradair also plan to outfit the BEHA with a remote control system so that the aircraft can be flown and landed by a pilot in control from the ground. Despite the fact that no such system has yet had approval on any aircraft, the designers believe that being able to remotely control the craft in times of emergency would boost passenger confidence and safety immensely.

"This aircraft will be one of the most eco-friendly and safest aircraft in the world, costing somewhere close to $1m US Dollars per aircraft," says Cloughley. "Plus our production facility will be equally environmentally focused."

Recently launched on Kickstarter, the company intends to spend the next 12 months through 2015 on Research and Development, with a specific aim to complete specifications and fabrication of prototype parts, provided its £20,000 Kickstarter aspirations are met.

The video below shows the company's Kickstarter pitch and some animations of the concept.

Source: Faradair

13 comments
riczero-b
Nice idea but I imagine an electric ducted fan would not push that draggy airframe down the runway, far less into the sky
Buellrider
Yes, give us your money because we've made a cool video. These kickstarter pie in the sky money scams are sure the rage these days. Kickstarter should put some skin in these projects so that they lose when everybody else loses. They also could win.
JeJe
Solar panels on a purported practical aircraft are laughable. Even if solar technology advanced to 100% efficiency and zero weight . There isn't enough energy in the sunfall for it to be anything other than a gimmick.
S Michael
A green dream that wont go anywhere....
Robin Colbourne
Its about time Kickstarter insisted on a mandatory peer review of 'projects' such as this before allowing gullible punters to lose money on them. There is no way ducted fans of the size of those either side of the fuselage are going to be either efficient or silent. If parked up for a few weeks those solar panels may do some good but not in a day (compare the area of panels and the likely weight with that of the Airbus/QinetiQ Zephyr solar UAV). The small gap between the wings is also going to be pretty inefficient too.
Robert Fallin
I cannot imagine such an aircraft would be very maneuverable, especially in high winds; and the powerplant would clearly be incapable of compensating for this deficiency.
Misti Pickles
Giggle. . . Snort! . . . "Along with wind-turbine technology to allow battery-charging for the vehicle whilst it is in-flight or on the ground." Wait . . . In flight recharging with a WIND generator? Did he invent perpetual motion, or does he even understand the concept of drag? And there is a good reason whiy you don't see a lot of biplanes or triplanes commercially since the days of WWI! There is a great deal of inefficiencies in the the span wise drag. There is a reason biplanes and triplanes have positive or negative stagger, i.e. the leading edges are not in a vertical plane when seen sideways. And as for the increased glide safety! Can someone explain to this vapor plane designer why gliders have loooooong skinny monoplane wings?
Darren Johnson
I'd like to see the wind tunnel tests.
Slowburn
The wings are stepped the wrong way...
Simon Hancock
I'm always keen to see new innovations in aerospace, but there seems to be too many open questions about this one. A few simple calculations would show whether their many novel concepts are feasible. I had a look at their website and I didn't see any aerospace engineers on their team...