MIAMI – Electra revealed this week that it has begun working directly with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to certify its hybrid-electric eSTOL aircraft under Part 23 regulations. Randy Griffith was hired as director of certification by the Virginia-based company in July.
Griffith is managing engagement with both the FAA’s Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation (CECI) and its Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office. Griffith came to Electra from Aerion, a supersonic aircraft company that shut down in May due to a lack of funding.
Aerion and Electra previously collaborated to use Aerion’s eSTOL aircraft to transport passengers to and from long-haul supersonic flights. Previously, the aerospace engineer worked for aircraft manufacturers such as Zunum, Mooney, HondaJet, and Eclipse in certification management roles.
14 CFR Part 23 Certification Rule
Electra plans to accomplish certification under the 14 CFR Part 23 rules for multi-engine, Level 3, low-speed (less than 250 knots) aircraft in 2026. The unnamed (sic) eSTOL design would be piloted by a single person and will be capable of carrying up to seven people or freight on legs of up to 500 miles.
Acceptance into CECI’s early-engagement program is a critical step for new aircraft programs, as it begins the process of evaluating certification considerations, such as any special conditions that may apply, as well as technical equivalences, exemptions, and unique means of compliance, with the FAA and a company’s engineering team. A project-specific certification plan and a compliance checklist are also part of the process.
Finally, a 150 kW turbogenerator will power the eight electric motors and propellers mounted along the wing, as well as replenishing the aircraft’s batteries while in flight. The goal for Electra is to be able to take off and land with only 150 feet of runway.
Comments from Electra
Electra program manager JP Stewart said, “The key to a cost- and time-efficient certification is the engagement of stakeholders to identify and mitigate risks while changes to improve safety can be efficiently made. We’ve started the engagement early in the design and look forward to working with the FAA and other stakeholders to develop the safest aircraft in this class.”"The certification of any aircraft must be treated with great respect to exceed expectations of the public’s trust in the aircraft OEM and the regulator." JP Stewart, Electra program manager Click To Tweet
The company plans to begin flight testing a full-scale technology two-seater demonstrator next year.
Electra, headed by industry pioneer John Langford, is headquartered in northern Virginia and has bases in Washington, D.C.; Charleston, South Carolina; Boston, Massachusetts; and Bern, Switzerland.
Feature image: Electra’s first commercial product is designed to carry up to seven passengers and a pilot as far as 500 miles. It will serve urban and regional air mobility markets, sustainability-focused airline operations, “middle mile” cargo logistics, and air ambulance services. Image: Electra