SA Symposium 2017 – An April Festival of Electric Flight

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, GFC, Hybrid Aircraft, Hydrogen Fuel, SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

April 21 and 22, 2017, set your GPS for N 37° 31′ 20.84” W 122° 15′ 38.31” – the Hotel Pullman San Francisco Bay.  The refined and beautiful setting and four-star accommodations make a grand accompaniment to the story we will share. The story of the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium includes the latest in aerodynamics, electric power and energy storage.  It’s a grand and sweeping review, told by talented intellects in the context of using the latest technology to help save the planet.  A few exemplars of the program highlight this year’s story, “ A Keynote Address from a Master Designer Tine Tomazic, Director of Research and Development for Pipistrel, created the G4 to win the 2011 Green Flight Challenge, …

Full-Spectrum Solar-Generated Hydrogen

Dean Sigler Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Osaka University researchers have created a new material based on gold and black phosphorus to produce clean hydrogen fuel using the full spectrum of sunlight.  Most solar apparatus used in “water splitting” rely on materials such as titanium dioxide.  These are limited to obtaining energy from the ultraviolet (UV) part of the solar spectrum, however.  The rest of the spectrum is wasted. Osaka’s team “developed a material to harvest a broader spectrum of sunlight,” using a three-part composite.  The different parts maximize absorption of light and enhance the efficiency of the unit for water splitting.  The core, a “traditional” semiconductor of lanthanum titanium oxide (LTO) is coated with tiny nanoparticle specks of gold.  The gold-covered LTO is then mixed with …

Volocopter, Dubai Sign Autonomous Air Taxi Agreement

Dean Sigler Announcements, Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Dubai, already having penned a similar agreement with China’s eHang, will start test runs of autonomous air taxis in 2017 with the Volocopter. Volocopter’s Eventful Year Volocopter has had an eventful year, introducing its latest model, the 2X, at this year’s Friedrichshafen Aero E-Flight Expo and opening its new corporate headquarters.  Now, it looks forward to demonstrating its craft in regular service.  e-Volo writes, “Our vision becomes reality: Dubai’s government “Roads and Transport Authority” (RTA) has signed an agreement with us regarding the regular test mode of Autonomous Air Taxis (AAT) in the emirate. The test will start in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the project has been scheduled to run for five years.” The Volocopter 2X, according to …

EViation Electric Aircraft: Demanding Disruption

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Aircraft Materials, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Aviation Week reports from the Paris Air Show on a “disruptive” entry in electric aviation.  Eviation, founded by Omer Bar Yohai, is primed to deliver a change in transportation as we know it.  Yohai says, “The dominant solutions available today are deeply flawed and demand disruption.” The company’s promotional video only hints at the company’s intentions.  Their vision statement on their web site, though, indicates a skyward aspiration: “Making electric aviation the fast, competitive and clean answer to on-demand mobility of people and goods.”  Aviation Week’s Noam Eshel quotes Bar Yohai as saying, “We design, test and build the tools that will enable future of regional transit by air, changing consumers’ perception of both distance and time.  Five years from …

Look Up and Say Cheese!  Autonomous Mapping from the Elektra One Solar

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Had the residents of Landshut, a 13th-century city in Lower Bavaria, chanced to look up at the right time over the last few weeks, they might have glimpsed a bright yellow shape looking back at them.  Calin Gologan’s latest Elektra One Solar carries a suite of cameras that can transmit 2D movies in 4K resolution to a ground station up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away.  Through sophisticated software, the images can be translated into 3D maps with a resolution of five centimeters (just under two inches), the primary mission of the flights. Partner ViaLight, a 2009 spin-off of the DLR (the German Aerospace Center), provided the hardware and software that allows up to 100 Gbps (gigabits per second) data …

Batteries Following Roads Less Taken

Dean Sigler Batteries, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.  Yogi Berra Technology and new products continue to enhance the development and realization of electric and solar aircraft.  Two approaches to batteries, both of which explore roads less taken, have some promise for aircraft use. Shine Some Light on It What if your battery could be recharged just by exposing it to light?  A team of South Korean researchers, affiliated with UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology) has developed a single-unit, photo-rechargeable portable power source based on high-efficiency silicon solar cells and lithium-ion batteries (LIBs).  Rechargeable under solar or artificial light, the unit could power other electronic devices, “even in the absence of light.” Professor Sang-Young Lee and …

Long Hours of Droning On

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Fuel Cells, Hydrogen Fuel, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Several different organizations are trying different ways to keep unmanned aerial vehicles, UAVs, up longer.  We’ll look at three recent efforts in long-endurance missions, each with a unique technological approach. Wirth Research – Hydrogen Fuel Cell Wirth Research is now constructing a new tilt rotor, Vertical Take Off and Landing (VTOL), hydrogen fuel cell powered, advanced terrain-mapping drone.  Carrying a payload of sensors and onboard data processing capabilities, the vehicle will be powered by a complete H2 storage, control and power system provided by HES of Singapore, a specialist in ultra-light hydrogen fuel cells. The Wirth machine’s missions range from precision agriculture, to pipeline and cable inspection for utilities, surveillance and other security-related tasks, through to detection and monitoring support …

Traveler Hybrid – An Electrifying Transformation

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Urs Villiger, with the assistance of, “A network of aviation specialists…under the leadership of Calin Gologan CFD Consultants,” crafted a sleek four-seater, the Traveler TR230.  That airplane, originally flown with an internal combustion engine, has apparently been recrafted as a hybrid craft.  Gologan, along with Dr. Volker Kassera, did the majority of the aircraft’s design. First flown on December 4, 2015, the gas-powered Traveler was very much a fixed landing gear airplane, replete with wheel pants.  The large canister under the cowling and forward part of the fuselage is a so-called “Swiss muffler,” a great deal like a “glass-pack” used by American hot-rodders in the 1950’s.  It was developed by experimenters in Switzerland to comply with noise regulations.  The major …

P3 – Different Consulting for a Different Industry

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

P3 is a new and different type of consulting service for a new and different kind of industry – electric aviation.  Consulting businesses usually manage to help others manage fairly conventional and well-traveled projects, limiting their practice to advising on how to meet budget and project timelines.  These are valuable insights that can help technical gurus overcome business issues, or management teams understand new technology. But what happens when a whole industry is exploring new paradigms, shaping new world views and delving into areas that did not exist a short time before?  One consulting firm that did not exist before 1996 is making inroads into that unexplored territory.  A spin-off from RWTH University in Aachen, Germany, P3 started with a …

Surefly – A Pickup and a Pick-Me-Up

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We’re experiencing a myriad of multi-rotors lately, mostly in the vertical lift on demand, sky-taxi  category.  Workhorse, a company specializing in electric vehicles, has introduced the Surefly, an eight-rotor, hybrid-powered two-seater with actual pilots in mind.  Workhorse will reveal the aircraft at the Paris Airshow on July 19, possibly filling in the blanks for the internal-combustion engine and electric motors on the machine. The company started with an award-winning conversion of a Pontiac Sky and has leapfrogged into the creation of unique electric vehicles.  These include not only Surefly, but  a hybrid pickup truck, a hybrid medium-duty step van useful for local deliveries, and Horsefly – an eight-rotor drone capable of delivering 10-pound packages.  Horsefly is launched from the step …

Another Combined Motor-Controller System

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

Compact Dynamics, a German electronics firm associated with MAHEPA, the green aviation consortium, has developed two types of electric motor-controller combinations adaptable to aeronautical use.  Their Dynax® Transversal flow machines and Dynadyn® Radial flux drives integrate power electronics with the motor. Their Dynax MGi25-48, one of two lower-power motor-controller combination, is rated at 25 kilowatts (33.5 horsepower) maximum power at 58 Volts, and 20 kW continuous output.  The small motor can generate an impressive 75 Newton-meters (58.3 foot pounds) of torque from its 14 kilogram (30.8 pound) heft.  Even with its controller mounted atop, the full motor package is only 318 millimeters (12.5 inches) high, and 233 mm (9.17 inches) deep.  The motor itself is only 107 mm (4.2 inches) …