Sunseeker Duo has a New Radio and Big Plans

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Touring on Sunbeams Eric and Irena Raymond have an enviable life, traveling on sunbeams across Europe in their Sunseeker Duo, and if plans go well later this year, into northern Africa and beyond.  “Last summer, we flew down the west coast of Italy, landing on the islands of Elba and Corsica.”  Crossing the Mediterranean would be no major impediment to further travel, as Solar Impulse showed, because, “Being solar powered our airplanes are assured a constant supply of energy by flying over the clouds, and we can cover much greater distances.” This summer will expand their itinerary to, “Starting in Italy and flying down the Dalmatian coast of Croatia, starting by exploring the Istria peninsula, then touring the myriad countless …

Pipistrel Velis Electro Celebrates a Year of Certification

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A Year of Recognition Pipistrel celebrates the one-year anniversary of type certification for its Velis Electro. In a press release, Taja Boscarol, Co-owner, Head of PR, and Co-director of Pipistrel d.o.o. (equivalent to a limited liability corporation in America), notes the Velis Electro remains the only type-certified electrically powered airplane in the world.  Recipient of the first such recognition for a battery-powered aircraft, the Velis has received other accolades. Recognition includes a 2020 Plane of the Year award from Plane & Pilot magazine, along with the Epic E1000, a very different craft. The magazine lauded the Velis Electro’s unobtrusive nature, both in noise and emissions.  “We’re making a lot of noise about this plane, true, and that’s a bit out …

Two Similar eSTOLs

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Two different but very similar electric Short Take Off and Landing (eSTOL) aircraft from two different companies are making progress toward realization.  Both are products of teams originally committed to electric Vertical Take Off and Landing (eVTOL) designs, so the shift to different configurations is of interest.  eVTOLs are limited in range by the need to lift their entire weight on their rotors – some for the totality of the flight.  eSTOLs use aerodynamics to enable longer range, and with high-lift devices, can use small fields from which to operate. Dr. Brien Seeley, head of the Sustainable Aviation Foundation, has been a long-time proponent of what he called “pocket airparks.”  These neighborhood or urban sites would be contained within roughly …

Icarus Cup 2021, Cross-Channel Race 2022

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The British Human Powered Flying Club has huge ambitions for 2022, with its race across the English Channel and a 50,000-Pound ($70,800) grand prize.  This year, though, “We are pleased to announce that we have chosen Lasham Airfield as the venue for the 2021 Icarus Cup, taking place on 24th July – 1stAugust!”  Great to see again, these Human Powered Airplanes (HPAs) are marvels of aerodynamics and human endurance and have a grand history.  This year’s event, following a virus-caused hiatus, will be a welcome re-introduction to the most personal form of flight. Some Openings for New Talent The Club explains, “This year’s competing teams have been notified of the venue details already.  We are currently in the process of …

Oxis Battery Lost, Other Batteries Found?

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Announcing pending bankruptcy last week, Oxis Energy surprised those of us who did not see the impending problem.  One major supporter of Oxis is George Bye, because his eFlyer line of aircraft were all slated to fly on their power.  Contacted through company Vice President Diane Simard, Bye issued the following statement: “Bye Aerospace’s eFlyer 800 program remains on track,” said George E. Bye, CEO of Bye Aerospace. “We continue to support Oxis Energy, their lithium-sulfur cell technology, leadership, team and owners. These types of transitions occur in every industry.”  Other batteries may wait in the wings, so to speak. Oxis prefaced its web site with the following announcement: “OXIS Energy Limited is in administration.  Simon Girling and Christopher Marsden …

Valuable Materials and Fuels from Trash

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The Earth we inhabit struggles in an ever-tightening race between being overcome with its own trash and cleaning up after itself.  Two stunning approaches to turning trash and waste into valuable materials and fuels could help us win that race. Graphene Dreams in a Flash Bigthink.com leads with the news that, “Graphene typically costs $200,000 per ton. Now, scientists can make it from trash.”  This “insanely useful” product is difficult to produce, making it a luxury for many applications – until now. Graphene is insanely useful, but very difficult to produce — until now.  Dr. James Tour and his Rice University students have created a way to produce graphene in large quantities in a literal flash.  This technique, Flash Joule …

Spark Solo Gets ZeroAvia Sponsorship

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Hydrogen Fuel, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Mike Friend, retired Technology Director for Boeing Aircraft, and Gabriel DeVault, head of drivetrain development for ZeroAvia, are putting a Zero motorcycle motor into Mike’s Spark Solo.  There are perhaps dozens of Zero motors flying today, and the 42-pound unit has evolved to powering even two-seat motorgliders like Gabriel’s Sonex Xenos. An Ambitious Project Mike came up with the Spark Solo design as a way to, “Encompass the design process” as well as the “piloting and fabricating” aspects of a project.  He wanted to, “Define an airplane uniquely designed around electric propulsion,” noting that, “Past efforts have almost always been adaptations of internal-combustion powered airplanes.”  To help forward his design, Mike has been working with his local EAA chapter, for …

The Media Are Finally Catching On

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The media are catching on.  CBS News this morning and Public Broadcasting next week are presenting reports on electric aircraft.  Your editor became aware of CBS’s report this morning at 3:00 a. m., being awakened after falling asleep earlier mid-joke during Stephen Colbert’s show.  It was a pleasant way to face the day. CBS explains, “Of all the major industries that spew out planet-warming greenhouse gasses, one stands out as unfixable – so far. Fossil fuel power plants can be replaced with wind and solar power. One can switch to electric cars. But as Mark Phillips reports from the British Aviation History Museum for the ‘CBS This Morning’ series Eye on Earth, the one thing aircraft have had in common …

Two Cutting Edge Batteries – How Soon?

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Hope reigns eternal for those tracking battery developments.  But for once, or even twice, there may be a glimmer of hope with two cutting edge batteries.  Researchers at Zhejiang University in China and Harvard University in America report promising numbers for very approaches, as divergent as their geographical locations.  Ultrafast All-climate Aluminum-graphene Battery with Quarter-million Cycle Life Researchers at the verbosely named MOE Key Laboratory of Macromolecular Synthesis and Functionalization, Department of Polymer Science and Engineering, Key Laboratory of Adsorption and Separation Materials and Technologies of Zhejiang Province, Zhejiang University, announced their extreme long-life battery under the almost equally verbose title shown above. The journal Science Advances published the research team’s paper in its December 15, 2017 issue, making one …

Air Race E: Three Classes, 18 Teams

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Air Race E is gathering momentum, now comprising two airplane classes and one eVTOL (electric Vertical Take Off and Landing aircraft) class.  Seven teams are officially entered and 11 “registered and confidential.”  Teams hail from the United States, Great Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Malaysia, Ukraine, and the Czech Republic.  This worldwide interest stems from a Dubai-based headquarters and intellectual centers in Europe, America and the Far East. Your editor knows, for instance, that Richard Glassock is working at the University of Nottingham on a Cassutt racer intended for e-racing. That is likely just one of two British teams and one of several fielding modified cassutts, a well-proven design with a fifty-year history. A Pair of Introductions …