MIT alumni design hybrid-electric aircraft for regional mass transit
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MIT alumni design hybrid-electric aircraft for regional mass transit

October 19, 2019


[music playing] Matt Knapp: I’ve been infatuated with airplanes and things that fly from as far as I remember. Petek Sarcoglu: Just to be able
to get above the clouds and see a different world up there really excited me. Matt Knapp: You’re playing with energy and
managing energy and you cross from point A to point B without having to go through the
path prescribed to you on the ground. Petek Sarcoglu I just always wanted
to be a pilot and I was always just very passionate about airplanes. Matt Knapp: We are developing hybrid-electric
aircraft for commercial applications. Our core technology is the hybrid-electric
propulsion system. Petek Sarcoglu The main difference between
a hybrid and regular propulsion is for hybrids, you have both fuel and batteries. Matt Knapp: You’ve got a substantial stored
energy source, which is batteries for the time being and you have a generation source,
which is a small gas turbine All that does is spin and produce electricity. The combination of those feed
the fans in the back to generate the thrust. Petek Sarcoglu: Having been here from the start, the best part about it is having gotten to work on all kinds of things and just see the airplane from the ground up, every part of it,
and how it’s being designed. We’re building this hybrid-electric propulsion, which most airplanes out there don’t have. It really is such a rare opportunity in aerospace
where you can design a clean sheet airplane that doesn’t have any derivatives you’re
working off of. Matt Knapp: The airframe that we’re developing
is fairly conventional. The propulsion is the innovation. It’s much more efficient at short ranges and
it’s much more cost effective at short ranges. And that’s something that conventional
airplanes do very poorly. We see this airplane as the start of the next
generation of this class of air travel. There’s about a 20,000 aircraft fleet
out there which is ready to retire in this size class right now
and it’s time for the next generation of propulsion technology to take that forward. Petek Sarcoglu To be at a startup, especially
one that’s designing a clean sheet airplane is, it’s just a hose being thrown at you all
the time and to have the strength to say,
“Okay, I’m going to keep going,” and to be able to accept that you don’t know everything, I think those are all things that a lot of
us learned at MIT.

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