Hybrid triplane could be carrying passengers within six years
Back in 2014, we first heard about UK firm Faradair's proposed Bio-Electric-Hybrid-Aircraft (BEHA, for short) – it was touted it as being one of the world's most environmentally-friendly airplanes. The company has now announced plans for a small BEHA airliner, which is hoped to enter service by 2025.
Like the original concept, the carbon-composite-bodied 18-seat BEHA_M1H will feature a "triple box-wing" design for enhanced lift. This configuration should allow it to take off and land on runways less than 300 meters (984 ft) in length.
Vectored thrust will be provided by two contra-rotating propfans in the rear – these will be housed within an acoustic duct, with the aim of reducing take-off noise to under 60 dba (dba stands for A-weighted decibels, which approximate the manner in which sound is heard by the human ear). By contrast, a typical jet engine at take-off sits at about 140 dba.
As the aircraft's name implies, power will be provided by a combination of batteries and bio-diesel. More specifically, the batteries will power its electric motor during take-off and landing, with a 1,600-hp turboprop bio-diesel engine generating power while the craft is cruising – the engine will also recharge the batteries at that time, with some help from solar panels on top of the wings.
Additionally, the BEHA_M1H will be capable of hauling cargo. Within a claimed 15 minutes, ground crews will reportedly be able to replace the seats with three of the company's LD3 cargo containers, for a combined capacity of 5 tonnes (5.5 US tons).
"The BEHA M1H variant, multi-role aircraft, will allow operators the ability to provide viable air transport services including; scheduled commuting flights, flight training and charter by day and the ability to use the quiet flight characteristics and payload capability for cargo operations at night," says Managing Director of Faradair, Neil Cloughley. "Our order book is now open and we look forward to working with potential customers and airport operators, as we begin the build of our first demonstration prototypes later this year, intended for flight trials by 2022."