Purpose The purpose of this paper is to analyze real-world flight data of a piston engine training aircraft collected from an internet-based radar service, along with wind data provided by a weather forecast model, and to use such data to design a hybrid electric power system. Design/methodology/approach The modeling strategy starts from the power demand imposed by a real-world wind-corrected flight profile, where speed and altitude are provided as functions of time, and goes through the calculation of the efficiency of the powertrain components when they meet such demand. Each component of the power system and, in particular, the engine and the propeller, is simulated as a black box with an efficiency depending on the actual working conditions. In the case of hybrid electric power system, the battery charging and discharging processes are simulated with the Shepherd model. Findings The variability of power demand and fuel consumption for a training aircraft is analyzed by applying the proposed methodology to the Piper PA-28-180 Cherokee, a very popular aircraft used for flight training, air taxi and personal use. The potentiality of hybridization is assessed by analyzing the usage of the engine over more than 90 flights. A tentative sizing of a hybrid electric power system is also proposed. It guarantees a fuel saving of about 5%. Originality/value The scientific contribution and the novelty of the investigation are related to the modeling methodology, which takes into account real-world flight conditions, and the application of hybridization to a training aircraft.
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