Italy’s CFM Air is debuting its Dardo 2-seat ultralight at the show featuring a new hybrid propulsion system.

Former Italian astronaut and Eurofighter test pilot Maurizio Cheli designed the carbonfibre aircraft. The standard version of the Dardo aircraft, powered a Rotax 914 engine, entered service about six months ago.

This latest model on display in the static features the same Rotax engine but it is combined with a new gearbox and integrated clutch, a new propeller shaft, a lightweight electric motor, power converter and control system and a rechargeable lithium polymer battery.

“This HPS gives the Dardo and extra level of safety should either the engine or the electric motor fail,” says French manufacturer Efesto, which is supplying the electric motor and battery for the new engine. Israel's Ashot Ashkelon has designed the gearbox and clutch.

“The [HPS] not only provides back-up redundancy, but the systems can work together to give the aircraft an extra boost during take-off and climbing mode,” continues the Paris headquartered company.

The first Dardo equipped with the new hybrid propulsion system is scheduled to make its first flight in the fourth quarter leading to service entry in the first half of 2016.

“The HPS is designed as an add-on kit for the Rotax 912/914 engines and eventually be available to all aircraft powered by these models,” Efesto says.

“We would also like to apply this technology to engines in the Continental and Lycoming families as this would open up the huge certificated general aviation aircraft market to us,” it adds.

Source: Flight International