The YAK-40 with the world’s first superconducting electric aircraft engine as part of a hybrid installation made its first flight

The Russian laboratory aircraft Yak-40LL, equipped with an electric motor, made its first flight at the MAKS-2021 air show as part of the tests.

An electric aircraft engine powered by high-temperature superconductors with a capacity of 500 kW was created by "SuperOx" under a contract with the Advanced Research Foundation. "SuperOx" is a resident of the Slava Technopark, which is subordinate to the Moscow Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovative Development.

Tests of the hybrid installation as part of the aircraft began in February in Novosibirsk. The electric motor, as well as other components and systems of the hybrid power plant demonstrator, was tested on special ground stands. For flight tests, one of the three Yak-40 engines, which are located in the tail section, was replaced with a turboshaft gas turbine engine with an electric generator developed by the Central Institute of Aviation Engine Engineering named after P. I. Baranov (part of the N.E. Zhukovsky Institute) together with the Ufa Aviation Technical University. And in the" nose " of the flying laboratory, an electric motor is installed that uses the effect of high-temperature superconductivity and a cryogenic system.

– With this work, CIAM implements one of the most important projects in modern aviation. We are creating and testing the technology of the future-a hybrid power plant based on high-temperature superconductivity (HTSP), " explains Mikhail Gordin, CEO of CIAM. – Its use is designed to solve a number of technological issues that air transport is already facing. CIAM and the SuperOx company have carried out a large amount of research, design and experimental work, now all the developed scientific and engineering solutions and their declared parameters and characteristics will be tested by a flight experiment.

– Our developments are based on many years of research and testing: we have hundreds of manufactured prototypes of windings and about ten manufactured and tested samples of engines of different capacities. Russian scientists were the first in the world to start testing an electric aircraft engine on the HTSP, which, we believe, is the future of the entire aviation industry, " says Andrey Vavilov, Chairman of the Board of Directors of SuperOx.

– An energy-efficient engine for aviation is what all the leading aircraft companies in the world are working on today. We were the first to create such an engine using HTSP technology, the first to show its high efficiency. And today we are the first to start testing as part of a flying laboratory. HTSP allows you to significantly reduce the weight of electric machines. The use of electric propulsion in aviation will reduce noise and fuel consumption. In the future, 15-20 years, as technologies improve, savings can amount to up to 75% – " comments Sergey Samoylenkov, CEO of SuperOx.

The complex of tests, including flight tests, conducted by CIAM and SuperOx, will become the leading scientific and technical groundwork that will allow the introduction of electrical technologies into aviation and in the future accelerate the creation of aircraft with hybrid power plants. Scientists hope to get the entire set of technologies by 2026-2027, which will allow creating the first sample of a regional aircraft on such a hybrid scheme by 2030.