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HYPSTAIR, the European project to design hybrid propulsion system for a small aircraft

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Hypstair The HYPSTAIR project deals with components design of a serial hybrid propulsion system for a small aircraft. A serial hybrid aircraft concept currently presents the best efficiency versus range compromise in the light aviation segment. It can be considered as an electrically powered aircraft, with an on board generator used for extending the range when necessary.

The project will involve conceptual design of the hybrid propulsion system components, namely the generator, motor, inverter, batteries and control unit. The components will be sized and designed considering the performance and energy efficiency of the complete airframe-propulsion system, and will be tested in a laboratory environment. Designed dedicated human-machine interface will allow simple operation of a complex hybrid system. Together with the reliability of electric motors and the use of dual energy sources, safety of flying as provided by a system built upon these components will be improved.

All the components will be designed in a way that they will meet the relevant safety and certification standards. As there currently exist no regulations for aviation hybrid drive systems, defining these in collaboration with the authorities will be an important contribution of the project, paving the way for hybrid and electric technologies to be introduced to the market. These efforts will help to create a competitive supply chain for hybrid drive components and reduce the time to market of such innovations.

Pisa University has developed the Flight Mechanics model of the aircraft, including take off, climb, cruise and landing. The performances are calculated in all the flight conditions and, for the first time, two sources of power are present at the same time in an aircraft. New problems in the Flight mechanics field have been investigated, new instruments have been introduced to present all the flight data to the pilots in a easy way, an optimization algorithm has been set up and tested in order to maximize the range. Finally a flight simulator has been provided; all the results were presented in a meeting held at Stuttgart, February 18 and 19, 2016. A fruitful collaboration with MBVison allowed to set the new cabin instrumentation and a significant contribution by Pitom company (Pisa) allowed to set up successfully the flight simulator of Hypstair.

Prof. Aldo Frediani from University of Pisa says: "The electric flight allows not only for a riduction of the environmental impact of aviation but also the opportunity of investigating different aircraft configurations, innovative architectures formotors integration and new design tools and methods. ‎In HYPSTAIR project our team has focused on the estimation of performance of the hybrid electric aircraft and has developed a simulator with the capability of taking the behaviours of all the components into account, including the Pilot. Piloting strategy, in fact, has a big influence on energy management and a new generation of hybrid airplane pilots may be required for the future affirmation of this technology".

  • 15 March 2016

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