Would an Electric LSA Kit Appeal to You?

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Is there a need and desire for an electric light sport aircraft (LSA) kit that is inexpensive to own, operate, and maintain?  Electric flight already offers that possibility, and if kits were available to further lower costs, we could see a new way to achieve low-cost flight.  The LSA designation qualifies a builder to take advantage of LSA’s lighter constraints. A good friend who happens to have designed an electric Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) a few years ago let the project lapse because of the need to tend to other business interests.  He wants to know if there’s a market for a new, improved version of his original concept – an electric LSA that would fly for considerably less in …

First Flight of Rolls-Royce’s ACCEL Project

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Rolls-Royce has made a first test flight of its ACCEL Program’s “Spirit of Innovation,” their 400 kilowatt (500+ horsepower) electric record-seeking craft.  Powered by a stack of three YASA (Yokeless And Segmented Armature) motors, the Spirit flows from Jon Sharp’s NXT design, usually powered by a 540-cubic-inch internal-combustion engine.  The video includes a short nod to Rolls-Royce’s involvement in aviation that leads to the current project. Rolls announced the successful first flight with an important accomplishment and a hopeful prediction.  “We are pleased to announce the completion of the first flight of our all-electric ‘Spirit of Innovation’ aircraft. At 14:56 (BST) the plane took to the skies propelled by its powerful 400kW electric powertrain with the most power-dense battery pack …

A Pair of Dutch Electric Dragonfly’s

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Dragonfly is a great name for the tandem-wing, two-seat aircraft, with the forward wing mounted low and the rear wing higher and behind the cockpit.  Students at InHolland University of Applied Sciences now have two of these anisoptera-like craft they are converting to electric power.  Considering there are only two such airplanes registered in The Netherlands, 100 percent of all Dragonflies in the country will soon be electric.  Over 500 have been completed worldwide in the last four decades. According to the school, “The airframe design is visually similar to the RAF’s Quickie 2, which was developed independently, but the Dragonfly has larger airfoils and was designed for a smaller engine, resulting in a slower but more docile handling aircraft. …

Storedot: Silicon and Tin for a Fast Charge

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Storedot is an Israeli battery company with an appealing sales pitch – their batteries can be fully charged in minutes rather than hours.  To make that happen, they are combining silicon, long considered a necessity for high energy density, and a more humble material – tin. Beside the unique material blend, Storedot is working on a 4680 battery (46 millimeters in diameter, 80 in length) equivalent to what Tesla has announced for use in its cars.  Storedot claims 10 minutes for a full charge on an automobile.  They demonstrated the ability to fully charge an electric scooter in five minutes last year.  Autos could have 200 miles added to their batteries in 10 minutes by 2024, based on Storedot’s timeline. …

Wright’s 2 MegaWatt Motor

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Jeffrey Engler of Wright Electric has huge ambitions, including producing a 186-seat electric airliner and now testing a two megawatt “aviation-grade motor for transport-category zero-emissions aircraft.”  If Engler’s vision becomes reality, “By 2040, Wright will eliminate carbon emissions from all flights under 800 miles.” Leap-frogging most other developer’s plans to make 10-, 19-, or even 50-passenger airliners, Wright plans a 186-seat, single-aisle airliner with distributed electric propulsion (DEP), spreading thrust across the wings and tail of the proposed craft Each motor will produce two megawatts (2,700 horsepower), greater than anything now flying.  When your editor first started writing about this new technology, even model aircraft builders were ganging several small electric motors to produce enough thrust for “3D”-style flight, demonstrating …

Aerolite 103 – As Simple As Aerial EVs Get

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Shown and flown at this year’s Sun ‘n Fun and AirVenture, the Aerolite 103 is a well-tested, best-selling ultralight that in FAA Part 103 form is a true ultralight.  As an electric aircraft, it’s heavier and faster than accepted ultralight standards but no less a competent flyer registered in the Experimental category. Designed in 1996, and with hundreds of the original two-stroke engine-powered versions flying, Aerolite’s originator Terry Raber sold the rights to Dennis Carley in 2012.  Manufacturing moved from Millersburg, Ohio to Delano, Florida. The airplane retains its position as an inexpensive FAA Part 103-compliant ultralight – true to its name.  In the last few years, it has also become part of zero-emission flight. Aerolite as an EV One …

Xpeng X1 and X2 Fly in China

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A new player in the electric aviation market, Xpeng has introduced a series of electric aircraft, and is currently test flying them.  A relative newcomer to the electric vehicle scene, Xpeng is making inroads with a sport utility vehicle (SUV), its P7 sedan, and its aerial projects. “Xpeng or Xiaopeng Motors, also known as XMotors.ai, is a Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer. The company is headquartered in Guangzhou, with offices in Mountain View, California in the US and is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange,” as reported by Wikipedia.  Prices in China range from around $23,300 for the G3 to around $50,000 for the P7, claimed to have a range of up to 408 miles.  Both are slated to …

Sion Power’s EV Battery

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

Sion Power’s EV Battery 400 Watt-hours per kilogram is a long-awaited minimum expectation for what it will take to get electric aviation off the ground.  Sion Power® of Tucson, Arizona will introduce its Licerion® 17 Amp-hour pouch cells at the Battery Show North America in September – claiming to fulfill that expectation.  The large-format pouch cells come in a compact 810 Watt-hours per liter size, last over 800 cycles and can be charged to 80-percent of their rated capacity in 15 minutes, according to Sion. Sion Power is shifting from its lithium-sulfur chemistry to lithium-metal technology.  Their Li-S cells powered Airbus’ Zephyr® 7 HAPS (High Altitude Pseudo Satellite) to a record for continuous flight.  According to Tucson Tech, “In 2014, …

Ampaire Flies in the UK

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Having completed a series of successful island-hopping flights in Hawaii, and in Scotland, Ampaire is now in Exeter, England taking part in a government-backed program, “Aimed at moving the UK towards green aviation.”  Test Pilot Eliot Seguin has moved from his Mojave, California base to take part in the endeavor, joined by fellow test pilot Justin Gillen. Drawing a Crowd A large contingent of dignitaries attended the inaugural takeoff of Ampaire’s electric EEL, their modified Cessna 337 Skymaster.  These included Baron Martin Callanan, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility at the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy. He shared a realistic appraisal of the new technology.  “Nobody is pretending we will be …

Stable Nickel-rich Cathodes in Lithium Metal Batteries

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A battery with 560 Watt-hours per kilogram, a stable long life, and no fires.  What’s not to like?  Researchers at Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU), founded by the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in cooperation with the University of Ulm, have come up with a dual anion, nickel-rich cathode, lithium-metal battery that, although in early stages of development, may point a way forward. Academic journal Joule reports, “High-energy batteries, in particular lithium batteries, are the key to achieve carbon-neutral mobility…. However, it is foreseen that a fully electrified mobility and transportation can only be achieved by the development of batteries employing lithium metal as the negative electrode (anode) while still granting long-term cycling performance and safety.”  Safety may be the deciding …