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E-Flight Initiative continues to make major development strides

The Sonex Aircraft, LLC E-Flight Initiative proof-of-concept electric-powered Waiex aircraft will be on display in the EAA Welcome Center during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2008, on the Main Admission Gate’s “Main Street,” and there will be an informational update regarding the progress of E-Flight given during the Sonex and AeroConversions E-Flight Alternative Power Research forum held on Wednesday, July 30 at 11:30 am in EAA Forum Pavilion #11. Additionally, Sonex Aircraft, LLC founder and President, and E-Flight development team leader, John Monnett will be participating in the Electric Aircraft Panel Discussion, held on Thursday, July 31 at 2:30 pm in EAA Forum Pavilion #7, and will a featured speaker during the Aviation Innovation presentation at Theater in the Woods on Thursday, July 31 at 7:45 pm.

Much progress has been made on the E-Flight Initiative electric power project since its unveiling at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007. The AeroConversions E-Flight Electric Motor has been constructed and test-run and significant progress has been made in design and testing of the Electric Motor Controller, Battery Managament and Charging systems.

“Our endeavor is to not just assemble ‘off the shelf’ components, as others have done, to prove that electric flight is possible,” points-out John Monnett. “Our mission is to develop a truly integrated eco-friendly alternate power system that combines efficiency and safety for our line of existing aircraft, and the future of sport aviation.”

In 2006 Sonex Aircraft, LLC’s research and development team began work on what is now called the “E-Flight Initiative.” E-Flight is a push to explore viable alternative energies for powering sport aircraft and improve the efficiency and performance of current products and technologies to keep aviation affordable and available to future generations of pilots. Although E-Flight has been shrouded in strict secrecy to ensure intellectual property protection of its more cutting-edge components, public unveiling of E-Flight at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2007 was a vital and successful key to the Initiative since it’s inception, as E-Flight was not only intended as a “push” for the Sonex R&D team, but also to help push the rest of the recreational aviation industry toward similar goals in the interest of preserving the future of our sport.

The E-Flight Initiative has three major areas of focus, taking a diverse approach to the problems of rising energy costs and an ailing environment to provide near, intermediate and long-term green powerplant solutions:

• Electric Power: Development of a proof-of-concept electric motor powerplant, controller, battery pack and charging system with the goal of determining the feasibility of a marketable line of Sonex and AeroConversions products. This project represents the most significant portion of e-Flight, in terms of investment, risks, challenges, and possible gains.

• Ethanol and “Eco” Fuels: Investigation of converting the AeroConversions AeroVee engine for use of ethanol-based and future “Eco” fuels in order to evaluate the performance, efficiency and reliability. Although ethanol-based fuels are the subject of much controversy, as long as there is a government mandate for integration of ethanol content into the nation’s fuel supply, and increasing demand from foreign consumers, we are obligated to continue the research of ethanol fuel as an alternative aviation fuel supply. Our commitment to ongoing testing and development is to provide AeroConversions products that are prepared for the possible discontinuation of 100LL, similar aviation fuels, or non-blended auto fuels.

• Efficiency Enhancement: Development of other enhancements to the existing AeroVee Engine and other existing and future AeroConversions products to increase fuel efficiency and performance for the sport pilot. These enhancements will be built upon an already strong foundation, as an AeroCarb equipped AeroVee powered Sonex aircraft already boasts a fuel economy of over 42 miles per gallon when cruising at 150 mph TAS at typical cross-country cruising altitudes.

More details about the progress of E-Flight Initiative projects will be released in the months and years ahead. Sonex Aircraft, LLC invites all interested potential sponsors to contact us with information about how your company or organization can help the E-Flight Initiative research & development team take a leadership role in pioneering technologies to secure the future of recreational aviation. All available project information and updates will be posted to the E-Flight Initiative home page.

Press release issued by Sonex Aircraft, LLC on July 25, 2008


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