Cessna is flying into the future of aviation ahead of their competitors with plans to build and release a 100% electric aircraft. They’ve coupled with Bye Energy, Inc., a company that specializes in all-electric planes, to build an engine for their proof-of-concept 172 Skyhawk. The company hopes to take off in their first electric model by year end.

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The classic Cessna 172 is the quintessential lightweight aircraft — as well as the highest sold plane ever. Cessna has delivered more than 43,000 172 Skyhawk planes in their history, which makes it a perfect place to start for the first commercial all-electric airplane. The Skyhawk is a four-seat, single engine aircraft that was first built in 1956. Only minor changes have been made in its light-weight construction since then and Cessna hopes just to insert an electric propulsion system — where there now is a gas powered one — in their new version.

The companies hope that their joint venture will be in the air by year end and are hopeful that the transition will be quick and easy. With the weight of most aircrafts being a major obstacle in making them run on electric engines, the Cessna Skyhawk seems to be the perfect choice for going green. As the most popular single model in aviation history, Cessna’s move to electricity is a big step for the aviation world. “Cessna’s support of the electric and electric-hybrid program is vital to moving general aviation into the future,” noted George Bye, CEO of Bye Energy. We’re looking forward to these zippy green flyers and hope when they come on board they’ll take a big chunk out of the oil-eating aviation pie.

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+ The all-electric Cessna 172

+ Bye Energy