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, …

Larry Page and his Water-Skimming “Flying Car”

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

What’s the definition of a “flying car?”  Does it need four wheels and quick-deploying wings to meet the definition?  Engineers at Kitty Hawk, a Larry Page-funded company, showed some major sales points for what looks to be an easy-to-fly, somewhat whimsical electrically-driven octorotor.  The Verge reports that, “Kitty Hawk promises people will be able to learn to fly the Flyer “in minutes.” A consumer version will be available by the end of this year, the company says.” The New York Times was a bit whimsical in describing the machine.  “Kitty Hawk’s flying car, if you insisted on calling it a “car,” looked like something Luke Skywalker would have built out of spare parts. It was an open-seated, 220-pound contraption with …

French Electric Helicopter Has Very Public Outing

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Volta is a French electric helicopter, and has been setting endurance records with almost every flight, it seems.  From its first hovering on February 17, 2016, and a first “official” three-minute flight on October 19, Volta has risen to new heights and set new “bests” for itself. Volta is based on Microcopter MC1, a one-of-a-kind model designed in 2004. Propelled by a Subaru engine “that was never successfully regulated,” the MC1 was an ultralight helicopter of conventional design that caused Philippe Antoine to see its possibilities as an electric machine.  Incidentally, you may still be able to get plans for the MC1 from Redback Aviation. Antoine replaced the fossil-fuel power train with an electric one, including an Enstroj motor.  Interestingly, …

Five Representative Exhibitors at the E-Flight Expo

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

Aero, an annual event at Friedrichshafen, Germany, highlights the beginning of the European air show season.  E-Flight Expo has been a regular part of this for the last several years, and displays the latest in electric flight technology.  Certainly the most forward-looking part of the show, the Expo grows every year.  Several exhibitors helped further the advanced look this year. MGM Compro With at least five aircraft powered by their electric power systems on display, MGM Compro showed great market strength.  The Czech firm has 16 of its motors atop each Volocopter 200, with one as a propulsor in the tail.  Their motors power the Magnus e-Fusion aerobatic trainer, several GP gliders, the S.R.O. Song motorglider, and any number of …

Zunum Electric Airliners Get Nod from Boeing, Jet Blue

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

Zunum aero, a startup in Kirkland, Washington, aims to fill the skies with small, quiet electric and hybrid airliners.  These range from a ten-passenger mini-liner to a 50-passenger craft similar to regional jets and feeder airliners.  Zunum is a Mayan word for hummingbird, and like those little speedsters, Zunum aircraft would make short hops efficiently and quietly – with just the hint of a buzz. Their sales pitch is enticing.  “Imagine leaving your doorstep in San Jose at 7 AM and making it to a 9:30 AM meeting in Pasadena. With Zunum Aero, simply drive to a nearby airfield and walk to your aircraft with bags in tow, for a trip that will take half the time and at a …

Siemens-Powered Extra 330LE Makes a Great Tow Plane

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Already proving its ability to climb at a great rate on its own, the Siemens-powered Extra 330LE towed an LS-8 sailplane to 600 meters (1.968 feet) in a mere 76 seconds.  This alone could be a gift to soaring. Sitting at the controls of a sailplane being towed aloft behind a conventionally-powered tow plane proves taxing, for the many minutes it takes to gain a release height of 2,000 or 3,000 feet can seem somewhat endless.  It’s also expensive for the gliding club or commercial operation.  The soaring club in which your editor was a member calculated the average tow for a Piper Pawnee or Cessna AgWagon consumed around 2.7 gallons to 3.0 gallons of $5.00 a gallon avgas.  Twenty …

Equator P2 Runs Forwards, Backwards and Heads Toward Friedrichshafen

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Tomas Broedreskift, on his Equator Facebook page, reports, “Successful motor test with propeller mounted today with #engiro! Celebrating the milestone with some German  (beer glass emoticon) this evening!  (noise maker emoticons) Amazing to see the thing come alive at last.” As the video shows, the Equator P2’s motor can be made to run in reverse, useful for backing out of moorages or avoiding river debris when the amphibian settles on the water.  Engiro makes range extenders on a custom basis for a variety of applications including (surprise!) amphibious aircraft. The Equator P2’s first long-distance trip, 1,361 kilometers (843 miles) from Norway to Aachen, Germany was obviously not by air, but by hand-crafted trailer, to Engiro’s headquarters where the motor tests …

Airbus E-Fans 2.0 and 4.0 Dropped in Favor of E-Fan X

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

Much like waiting for the single-person ram-jet helicopter to show up in your garage, you’ll be left hanging for a two- or four-seat Airbus e-Fan to grace your hangar.  Although not sharing the news in its “Innovation” or press release sections on its web site, Airbus has announced that it’s dropping plans to produce an E-Fan family of personal aircraft.  It will move instead into developing a larger, more powerful aircraft, the E-Fan X, that could fly within three years. Airbus started with a four-motor rendition of the Cri-Cri, four MGM Compro units twirling contra-rotating propellers and producing 60 horsepower.  Their “Innovation” program followed that with the tw0-seat E-Fan, and announced plans to build these in series at their cleverly named …

Exciting News from Eric Raymond and Dr. Van Helsing

Dean Sigler Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

We are excited to share this press release from Eric Raymond at Solar Flight.  Being in on things at the beginning of an extraordinary new technology is something that we strive for in this blog.  We were alerted to this by Dr. Abraham Van Helsing from the Transcendental Aerodynamics Department of the University of Transylvania.  He has been advising Eric on some arcane aspects of what most will agree are nearly unbelievable propulsion techniques. For immediate Release April 1, 2017 Today Solar Flight Inc. is proud to announce the roll out of its newest electric aircraft, the Monarch. In secret development for the last 2 years, it breaks new ground for this small aircraft development firm. The most revolutionary aspect …

Solar Impulse Pilot Andre’ Borschberg to Speak at SAS 2017

Dean Sigler SAS, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

One of two pilots who guided Solar Impulse around the world will speak at the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  Andre’ Borschberg, having accomplished along with Bertrand Piccard an extraordinary voyage, uses his reputation and celebrity to educate the world that the “Future is Clean,” a watchword for the team’s ongoing efforts. Last November, for instance, Bertrand Piccard “launched the World Alliance for Clean Technologies under the umbrella of the Solar Impulse Foundation – a second phase in the realization of his vision that clean technologies can accomplish impossible goals and solve many of the challenges facing our society today.” In the meantime, Andre’ uses his engineering talents and perspective to bringing about practical outcomes derived from his and Bertrand’s experiences.  Because …

Paris to London Using No Fossil Fuels

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Jeff Engler fired up a start-up, Wright Electric, about a year ago.  Last week, he presented at the Y Combinator Winter 2017 Demo Day – a semi-annual event where venture capitalists can meet the latest in venturesome mendicants.  Tech Crunch describes the firm’s goals, which include electric flights between London and Paris on no fossil fuels – ambitious to say the least. “Wright Electric wants to build the world’s first electric airplane (at least the first 150 seat electric airliner). One of the main reasons airlines like Southwest can offer low fares is that they pre-purchase gas, but Wright sees an opportunity to make flights even cheaper by using electric planes instead. The company is targeting the 30 percent of …