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Interview: Kasaero Project Engineer Stefan Thullner Stefan Thullner

SUCCESS STORY: Eviation Alice First Flight Eviation Alice Erstflug

“We lift you up where you belong”

Joe Cocker nailed it 2003 with his song „Up Where You Belong”: „The road is long, there are mountains in our way, but we climb a step every day”

The world’s first completely newly developed all-electric regional aircraft has made it on September 27th, 2022: High speed tests passed, permission for first flight received, maiden flight successful. Congratulations!

Kasaero has been a part of this cornerstone project. “We have been contracted for the development of Eviation Alice’ flap drive system and its integration into the wing.

Our Stuttgart engineers had previously developed the wings for the first Alice prototype in a record time of just 9 months”, explains Karl Kaeser.

The flaps built into the wings are aerodynamic master class, they do not need any fairings at all. The structural elements, i.e. flap tracks and carriages for the flap drive, which we have designed, built and tested, will accompany a wonderful new generation of electric aircraft with high precision, almost noiseless and fail-safe.

View to the wing and the flap system during the maiden flight of Alice. Source: Eviation

Read the exciting story of a completely new electric aircraft development.

From Stuttgart to Kadima near to Tel Aviv, to Arlington, WA to Moses Lake, WA for flight testing: Michael Schwarz, Stefan Thullner, Karl Kaeser and their teams from Kasaero GmbH collected miles, physically and, due to covid restrictions, virtually.

Their goal: Contribute to the design of “the” aircraft of the 21st century. Big celebration in September 2022: The Alice aircraft, a completely new design for up to 9 passengers successfully completed its very first flight.

Eviation was founded in 2015 and found capable partners in Germany to develop and design substantial parts and systems of his visionary project.

Kaeser and his team are part of the expert team that realized probably the most important aircraft project of the modern era: The Eviation Alice.

New Age for Commuter, Freight and Private Aviation

European governments – upfront Denmark – want to ban domestic flights powered by fossil fuels from 2030 to slow down climate change.

Eviation Alice is not just a role model for perfect transcontinental teamwork, but also the first fully electric regional aircraft with a range of up to 400km. On September 9th, 2022, it got the permit to fly from the FAA.

DHL (for short haul cargo flights) and Cape Air (for regional flights up to 400km) already ordered 87 aircraft in total. GlobalX placed options for 50 Alice aircraft.

Eviation will enable time saving transport of passengers and cargo without local CO2-footprint and make domestic travel and efficient delivery of e-commerce orders as well as raw materials without remorse and much lower noise pollution a reality.

Emission free transport of cargo and passengers up to a range of 400 km. Source: Eviation

German Engineering Provider is partner from the very beginning

Kasaero is on board with Eviation since an early stage of the project. Kasaero is world- wide regarded as “One-Stop-Shop” for aircraft design, composite technology, production, and certification.

As a supplier, the Stuttgart based team of design and composite experts could provide the wing for the first Alice prototype in record time: “Between the project kick-off on August 4th in 2018 and the shipping of the complete wing end of April 2019 we had less than nine months to deliver”, explains Michael Schwarz, lead engineer at Kasaero.

In this possibly record-breaking time, the team from Stuttgart and Isny shaped the complete inner structure of the esthetical looking slim wing.The Alice aircraft equipped with this wing was exhibited at Salon International de l’Aéronautique et de l’Espace in Paris in June 2019.

The same year in October, Karl Kaeser present-ed the ambitious project at the e-flight Forum in Shijiazhuang. “This project only could succeed through excellent communication, of-the-art project management methods and virtualization to translate ideas into veritable designs despite a distance of several thousand kilometres and up to eight time zones between the teams”, according to Schwarz.

Before constructing the flap drive, Kasaero has already been responsible for the development of the Eviation Alice V0 wings - and was able to develop and deliver them in a record time of 9 months. Source: Kasaero

Electric instead of hydraulic: High precision, low weight, ultra robust

The next logical step for Eviation was to contract Kasaero for the development of the flapdrive system and its integration in the wing.

“With the flaps it is crucial that both left-hand and right-hand flaps are always set absolutely symmetrical to prevent unintentional turning,” explains Dipl-Ing Michael Schwarz. “To meet that requirement, we implemented a sophisticated system to detect asymmetry and skew.” Kasaero engineer Stefan Thullner managed that project: “The structural connection between the flap and the wing as well as the kinematics, the guided movement so to speak, are unique,”Stefan explains.

“Especially in clean wing con-figuration, in which the aerodynamics of the Alice’s wing are not disturbed or compromised by any hinge or track fairing, the development and design were challenging.

The final design provides huge advantages for drag reduction incruising flight though.” Unique in this project step are again the precision and speed: The kick-off for the flap drive system development was in August 2020. On November 13th 2020 Kasaero delivered the first components of the new system and beginning of May 2021, the complete and already tested flap drive system.

The eviation management team at Kasaero: graduate engineers Karl Kaeser, Michael Schwarz and Stefan Thullner (from left to right) - Source: Kasaero

Intense research and development as a partner with pioneering spirit for sustainable flight

Karl Kaeser is reckoned a technical mastermind and contributed to important projects and milestones such as the Solar Impulse 2.

As team member of the e-Genius, a hybrid two-seater, Kasaero demonstrated that ranges of more than 2000 km are already possible with electric hybrid solutions.

Thanks to its well-known reputation, the company Kasaero draws top talent from the foremost aeronautical engineering departments in the world, such as the University of Stuttgart Institute of Aircraft Design (IFB).

The IFB is well-known for combining academic learning and intensive practical hands-on projects. It is also home of the e-Genius, a winner of the 2011 NASA Green Flight Challenge sponsored by Google. The price money of 1,65 million dollars is the highest aviation price ever promoted. “We prefer new approaches in aviation and try to avoid renovating traditional designs”. Concludes Karl Kaeser passionate the credo of his company. “Our technologies are models for series production, and they demonstrate today’s possibilities when everyone pulls together: Reduced local CO2 emissions and noise pollution, increased safety, highest precision and sustainable product development.”

Already engaged in many highly innovative alternative propulsion solutions: Kasaero has also been on board projects such as Sunseeker Duo and Solar Impulse 2. HYFLY is the latest project that Kasaero is implementing in cooperation with several companies and KasaeroProject research facilities. The aim is to develop fuel cell propulsion systems for small aircraft in cooperation with well-known manufacturers such as Dornier Seawings and Flight Design F2, so that they can travel long distances electrically with-out a local CO2 footprint. Further project partners are PS-HyTech GmbH, the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg Schweinfurt and FlyingAD Ges.m.b.H. HYFLY is funded by the Ministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz within the ZIM program. Source: Milko Vuille (CC)

Next Step: Take-Off with green Hydrogen from Canada

Der nächste Meilenstein von Kasaero heißt HYFLY.

Karl Kaeser: “We will provide a technology that allows small electric aircraft to take off and fly safely for long distances powered by electricity generated from green hydrogen on board.

We are excited about the already granted research funding for that project and we are happy about.

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Interview: Kasaero Project Engineer Stefan Thullner Stefan Thullner

All pictures by "Eviation" and "Kasaero"