solarship product range

Solar Ship Sells Four Inflatable Solar Airships

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Solar Power, Hybrid Aircraft Leave a Comment

People in remote areas of Africa may find relief coming quickly to disaster zones with Manaf Freighters’ purchase of four Solar Ship aircraft. Solar Ship’s Uniquely Hybrid Form Solar Ship, located in Toronto, Canada, builds solar-powered triangular, blimp-like flying machines that could serve as lifelines to the world’s most remote places.  Solar Ships range from an 11-meter wide (it’s hard to call it a wingspan) envelope to a projected 100-meter (328 feet) wide monster that could carry up to 30,000 kilograms (66,000 pounds) for a minimum of 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles). The blog reported on Solar Ships three years ago, when their few flying examples were testbeds for the possible future development of practical load haulers.  Combining buoyancy with aerodynamic …

Gamera: First Solar-Powered Helicopter

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Solar Power Leave a Comment

Solar Gamera, an extension of the human-powered helicopter that achieved the longest HPH duration flight in 2013, just made the first solar-powered helicopter flight.  In 2014, a group of undergraduate students at the University of Maryland turned Team Gamera into Solar Gamera, “to test the feasibility of applying solar power in achieving human helicopter flight.” Ph.D. student William Staruk, a member of the original HPH team, reflected, “Today you are seeing the first successful flights of the Gamera Solar-Powered Helicopter. You are seeing aviation history being made in the history of green aviation and rotary blade aviation.” Gamera’s lattice-work framework, 100-foot square with extremely large rotors at the ends of four beams, carried materials science major Michelle Mahon on two short …

egenius pod_0

e-Genius Flies with a Range Extender

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation, Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft Leave a Comment

Stuttgart to Barcelona Dipl-Ing* Ingmar Geiß, Deputy Project Manager for e-Genius with the Institute of aeronautical engineering at Stuttgart University shared the news that e-Genius flew with its range extender for the first time on September 15.  He notes that while the battery-powered airplane can manage trips up to 300 kilometers (186 miles), the hybrid engine/generator pod will enable flights up to 1,000 kilometers (620 miles).  This would equal a trip from Stuttgart to Barcelona, Spain, according to the e-Genius web site. As the school explains, “With [the] e-Genius hybrid most flights of a typical user case can be done in the cost and energy efficient battery mode – for all longer flights the range extender can be used. Generator …

G4, powered by only batteries, landing at end of Green Flight Challenge Flight, 2011

Dr. Joseph Kallo, DLR See a Hydrogen Future

Dean Sigler GFC, Sustainable Aviation, Hydrogen Fuel, Batteries, Hybrid Aircraft, Fuel Cells Leave a Comment

Speaking at the first annual Sustainable Aviation Symposium at the Sofitel San Francisco Bay on May 6, 2016.  Dr. Joseph Kallo focused on hydrogen as a more than potential fuel for future flight.  He stressed that H2 fuel development was further along than one would think, and shared several examples to promote that thought. A Busy Man, a Storied Airframe Dr. Kallo is DLR (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft-und Raumfahrt – German Center for Air and SpaceTravel) Coordinator of Electrical Aviation for Germany’s equivalent of NASA, oversees work at the DLR Institute of Engineering Thermodynamics, which has worked with Pipistrel in Slovenia to convert the Green Flight Prize winning Pipistrel G4 to the hydrogen-powered HY4. He’s also Institute Director at the …


Airbus’s Aerial Commuter of the Future?

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Hybrid Aircraft Leave a Comment

Airbus and its partner Local Motors have just finished a successful design challenge for delivery drones that can carry things like emergency medical supplies to selected destinations.  Recent announcements and the release of a patent drawing show Airbus is doing serious work toward delivering humans to their selected destinations in a scaled-up version of such drones.  Many brilliant people have tried to combine the benefits of ground and air transport over the years, including Molt Taylor, designer of the rightly famous Aerocars.  The example at Seattle’s Museum of Flight causes docents to lower their voices out of respect for the accomplishment. That’s certainly a concept promoted for last decade by Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation and …


Airbus and Local Motors Team up For Cargo Drone Competition

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Announcements Leave a Comment

Richard Glassock, a long-time contributor to the blog and now a Research Fellow in Hybrid Propulsion Systems for Aircraft at the Institute for Aerospace Technology, the University of Nottingham, England, shared this news about an Airbus-sponsored contest for cargo drone designs. Local Motors, well known for its 3D-printed automobiles, and Airbus Group, well known for its range of commercial and military aircraft, just completed a design contest that drew 425 entries.  Rewards were significant for the top three places in the competition, with a main award First Place prize of $50,000, a trip to the Farnborough Airshow in England, and a “1-of-a-kind Cargo Drone Flight Jacket with personalized patch.”  Second place earned the winner $20,000 and third place $10,000, with …

aquila flying

What Would You Give the Pope?

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Solar Power Leave a Comment

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and head of Facebook, met with Pope Francis yesterday.  The Pope, a known follower of high-technology innovations, has declared the Internet a “gift from God,” and emphasized the importance of building a connected society that is “healthy and open to sharing.” As Digital reports, Zuckerberg is the latest representative from Silicon Valley to be granted a Papal audience.  He follows Apple CEO Tim Cook, Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt, and Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom, but unlike them, brought a gift, a scale model of Facebook’s Aquila solar-powered drone soon to be carrying the Net to remote areas of the world. Digital Trends reports that Zuckerberg took to Facebook (of course) to report on the meeting, explaining there are “parallels …


An “Ideal” Battery That Looks Like a Sandwich

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Batteries Leave a Comment

Sandwich structures are common in aircraft, combining high stiffness, light weight, and structural strength.  Could such a structure be useful in enhancing energy storage?  Pennsylvania State University researchers think they’ve answered that question in a positive way. Sandwich-like Structures as Energy Storage Materials The blog has examined the possibilities inherent in incorporating batteries and supercapacitors into structures, but making the battery itself a sandwich structure could leave it as a discrete component within an electric vehicle, or lead to its being adapted as a full structural element.   Penn State University materials scientists have achieved the goal of making a “polymer dielectric material with high energy density, high power density and excellent charge-discharge efficiency for electric and hybrid vehicle use.”  Their …

Dr. Santer's comparison of what would happen if only natural forces were acting, as opposed to what human interaction with climate has caused

Is It Hot in Here – Or Is It Just Dr. Santer?

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Dr. Benjamin Santer is a renowned climate scientist, leading the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) when it won the Nobel Peace Prize (along with former Vice President Al Gore) “”for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change.”  The IPCC clarified the award by explaining, “The prize was awarded to the IPCC as an organization, and not to any individual associated with the IPCC.” Even though he fought through the idea that mankind was adding to the warming trend over the last 100 years*, and risked his career at several points along the way, overall, scientists worldwide have come …

Solar Impulse 2 Batteries – Better than We Thought

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation, Solar Power, Batteries Leave a Comment

What happened to Solar Impulse 2’s batteries on those long five days and nights over the Pacific?  It took months of enforced downtime in Hawaii to have new batteries made, sent from Korea, installed, tested, and flown again.  Could the plane have completed the flight on the original batteries? Kokam, manufacturer of the airplane’s cells, has released new information that provides details of the drive system and relieves a few lingering anxieties.  An over-riding concern was that batteries overheated on the Japan to Hawaii part of the mission, topping out at 50 degrees Centigrade (122 degrees Fahrenheit) – above their design temperature.  Your editor has thought deeply about what Andre’ Borschberg must have gone through every day of the five …