Go Back  PPRuNe Forums > Aircrew Forums > Biz Jets, Ag Flying, GA etc.
Reload this Page >

Zunum: the Prius of business jets and short haul?

Biz Jets, Ag Flying, GA etc. The place for discussion of issues related to corporate, Ag and GA aviation. If you're a professional pilot and don't fly for the airlines then try here.

Zunum: the Prius of business jets and short haul?

Old 14th Oct 2017, 18:54
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Texas
Age: 60
Posts: 5,372
Zunum: the Prius of business jets and short haul?

Jet Blue and Boeing are funding a start up for a hybrid electric / turbine aircraft that is roughly bizjet /King Air in passenger capacity.

NEWS Boeing, JetBlue Invest in Electric Plane Startup | AIRLIVE.net

What got my eyebrows raised was at the end: designed for single pilot, with "no pilot" options reserved for the future. The initial design target is a 700 mile range ( ~ 1120 km) with a 1000 mile (1600 km) range projected for around 2030. (I think the article got the range on the second one wrong, so I've corrected that).

I am puzzled: with that passenger capacity, and the cost of building some leading edge technology, what's the market that can support this (if it succeeds in meeting initial targets) beyond the business jet market? I am pretty sure I am missing something. Beyond the matters of scale, there is the cost of development and certification that one has to make up on the back end, as well as creating nodes/hubs where the batteries are charged or swapped out per the article's description. I looked at a few biz jets and note that in terms of range, this proposed model does not look competitive. (For example, a Gulfstream V carrying up to 14 pax has a 5000 mile range ... and the Cessna Citation about 2300 though I am not sure of the passenger load on that)

Is this realistic?
Lonewolf_50 is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2017, 20:10
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 10,894
Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post
I looked at a few biz jets and note that in terms of range, this proposed model does not look competitive. (For example, a Gulfstream V carrying up to 14 pax has a 5000 mile range ... and the Cessna Citation about 2300 though I am not sure of the passenger load on that)
You can't expect a hybrid aircraft that's cruising at not much more than half the speed of a jet to have comparable range, when it would take nearly twice as long to get there.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2017, 20:58
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Everett, WA
Age: 64
Posts: 2,457
I suspect the target market is more like the Honda Jet and multi-thousand mile range isn't a requirement. GE is on record as saying their corporate Honda Jet is paying for itself in improved productivity and such (of course, as they are equity partners in Honda Jet, I wouldn't expect GE to say otherwise )
Recall that the very long range business jet is a relatively new development.
tdracer is online now  
Old 14th Oct 2017, 21:08
  #4 (permalink)  
aox
 
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: UK
Posts: 157
I looked up some numbers for the Pilatus PC-12. Up to nine passengers, very similar speed to the article's 10 seat version, about 1500 built.
aox is offline  
Old 14th Oct 2017, 23:04
  #5 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Texas
Age: 60
Posts: 5,372
@aox Ok, maybe that's the target market, is the range about the same as the PC-12?
Lonewolf_50 is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2017, 01:12
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: UK
Age: 74
Posts: 1,055
There is a difference between single pilot and single pilot certified. Many (most?) jurisdictions require 2 pilots for commercial IFR operations, some permit this only with a small (often 8) number of pax.
The DHC6 Twin Otter is certified for single pilot operation but such operations are rare and usually VFR.
The Ancient Geek is online now  
Old 15th Oct 2017, 03:59
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Denver
Posts: 976
This is basically a proof-of-concept design - can a electric-drive aircraft meet specifications that are at least practical, if not currently (pun ) competitive.

John Holland's first "electric boat" had a surface/hydrocarbon range of 200 nm, and a submerged-electric range of 30 (!) nm. Carried three torpedos and a cannon powered by dynamite (no kidding!). Not exactly inspiring - yet it eventually led to every practical war-making Pacific-crossing submarine of WW2 and beyond. You have to start somewhere, to investigate the technologies and discover and solve the problems.

Same for diesel-electric rail locomotives - 100 years ago they were only yard engines, but today they haul everything moved by rail in the US.

Even the FAA needs a functioning, flyable electric-drive aircraft available - to do a sensible job of writing (and perhaps modifying) rules for certification.

Will we see JetBlue operating a Boeing-electric 737 any time soon? No. Will we perhaps see a Boeing 73E7 in 60 years - that incorporates a lot of knowledge gained from getting the Zunum to function at a practical level today? We'll find out.

Fossil-fuel cars will be "out" in the EU and UK by 2040. Don't be under any illusions that regulators won't get around to banning most pure fossil-fuel aircraft eventually. Boeing and JetBlue are just planning ahead.

For the "9-seater," Zunum claims a target cost per ASM of 8 ($250/hour operating costs for fuel/batteries/charging power). Or just 20-33% the costs for a PC-12/KingAir.

Not to mention 65dB side-line engine noise at TO thrust,

Of note - the "next" step for Zunum (so they say) is something in the 19-seat segment. Then scaling up to 50-70 seats.
pattern_is_full is offline  
Old 15th Oct 2017, 17:34
  #8 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Texas
Age: 60
Posts: 5,372
@Pattern, thanks, that's very helpful and I've looked a bit more at their home page. 30 years ago, tilt rotor technology was trying to get a foot into the door of a similar market, (the brief I saw was for Japan) and the AW 609 is ... still a work in progress. I'll do some more digging around.
Lonewolf_50 is offline  
Old 16th Oct 2017, 11:37
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2015
Location: Cambridge
Posts: 41
I think the smaller concept demonstrator is very much the test case for getting back into the 19-seater and then 50-seater regional airliner market. Beyond that, aircraft weight/size-wise, it is not anticipated that electro-hybrid-ducted fan-type aircraft will have viability. So it's the smaller platforms that on paper at least look interesting. Batteries will or can be topped-up by turbine generators (a sort of APU), so the battery is not the one and only power source.

Although range is not significant, it's all about the incredible ops costs savings - in theory, when scaled up to the 50-seater class, those aircraft should be 80% cheaper to operate than current 50 seat turboprops.
Cambridge172 is offline  
Old 17th Oct 2017, 05:06
  #10 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: USA
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by Lonewolf_50 View Post

I am puzzled: with that passenger capacity, and the cost of building some leading edge technology, what's the market that can support this (if it succeeds in meeting initial targets) beyond the business jet market? I am pretty sure I am missing something. Beyond the matters of scale, there is the cost of development and certification that one has to make up on the back end, as well as creating nodes/hubs where the batteries are charged or swapped out per the article's description. I looked at a few biz jets and note that in terms of range, this proposed model does not look competitive. (For example, a Gulfstream V carrying up to 14 pax has a 5000 mile range ... and the Cessna Citation about 2300 though I am not sure of the passenger load on that)

Is this realistic?
At a guess, somebody is betting big on a new sector in the commercial airline business, rather than a traditional business jet market. The exponential growth of Surf Air seems to show it's a valid business model. A hybrid aircraft fits this flight profile ideally, short range, lots of cycles, issues of noise/pollution using non-traditional (GA style) airfields.
ion_berkley is offline  
Old 17th Oct 2017, 23:51
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Colorado
Posts: 22
700 miles on 120 gallons carrying 9 passengers is very impressive!
CappyJax is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.