Fraport And Volocopter Implement Infrastructure

Dean Sigler Batteries, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Helena Treeck, Senior Global PR Manager at Volocopter GmbH, announced that Volocopter and Fraport AG (the managing directorate for Frankfurt Airport) are, “Developing concepts for ground infrastructure and operations required for air taxi services at airports.” A Promising Concept As most of us know from inconvenient experience, getting to and from the airport and fighting our way through the obstacles between us and our assigned seat are frustrating and at times almost demeaning.  Volocopter probably can’t take away the patdowns and the delay in security lines, but it can release us from the traffic jams on the way to and from the airport. Volocopter proposes “Volocopter Ports,” a nest of landing platforms, battery swap stations, and boarding and departure zones.  …

Big Events and Numbers for Bye Aerospace

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Bye Aerospace has four big current projects, with the Sunflyer 2 at the top of the development and sales curve.  Teaming with Siemens, Bye Aerospace is now flying Sunflyer 2 with one of their 57 pound SP70D motors producing a 90 kilowatt peak rating (120 HP), and continuous power up to 70kW (94 HP). Bye anticipates that Sunflyer 2 will be, “the first FAA-certified, practical, all-electric airplane to serve the flight training and general aviation markets.”  George Bye, the company’s founder and CEO has been working with Agency for several years on devising rules for electric aircraft certification. The need for 790,000 new pilots in the next few decades will drive the need for training aircraft.  An aging fleet with …

Calin Gologan, Scylax and China

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Everything in the world seems to require massive or distributed investment even for simple projects.  Low-budget movies have multiple production companies and different car companies share the same engine or drive train.  Calin Gologan and PC Aero have expanded their offerings over the last decade, and have also expanded their partnerships.  Now, to make his twin-motored commuter liner a reality, he has partnered with a Chinese investor to produce the Scylax E6 and E10 aircraft. Although the E6 was, “Announced at Friedrichshafen’s Aero Expo and displayed (at least in model form) at the 2013 Paris Air Show, the Elektro E6 is the technology platform for a future, all electric transport aircraft.”  Today’s SCYLAX E6 remains visibly the same as the …

Two Different Carbon Batteries

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

With lithium-ion batteries seeming to have topped out in their capabilities, battery researchers are looking at new ways of storing energy.  Zap&Go in England and Graphenano in Spain are exploiting a more common element  to good effect, crafting carbon batteries that charge quickly and last thousands of charge-discharge cycles.  Both attack their goals in very different ways. Zap&Go Carbon-ion Battery According to Microbattery.com, the Oxford-based organization Zap&Go has created and delivered a carbon-particle battery consolidating the superfast charging capacities of a supercapacitor to gain rapid charging and long cycle life.  Unfortunately, as far as electric vehicles go, it’s not quite ready for prime time.  The good news is that it’s on a well-structured timeline that will bring it to the vehicular world …

Fish and Fuel from Sunlight, Sand, and Salt Water

Dean Sigler Biofuels, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Ethiad Airways made the first commercial flight on fuel made from plants grown in saltwater by Khalifa University.  Burning jet fuel made from halophyte plants grown in salt water and fertilized by the shrimp and fish living in the salt water enabled a flight from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam on January 16.  It was the first flight on pure biofuels, even though commercial airlines have made over  160,000 flights on blended fuels since 2011. Dennis Bushnell Predicted This Chief Scientist at NASA Langley Dennis Bushnell shared information on halophytes, plants that grow in salt water.  He presented such ideas at a symposium your editor attended six years ago, and his vision is now being realized.  He points out that 70 …

Making Structural Batteries More Sinewy

Dean Sigler Batteries, Electric Aircraft Materials, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Multitudes of researchers have exercised their mental muscles trying to make man-made products mimic naturally-occurring structures.  According to University of Michigan researchers, the cartilage in your knees might provide the inspiration for a “structural battery” prototype that would be durable and easy to shape. This blog has long promoted the idea of structural batteries, energy storage systems that could double as strengthening elements in the aircraft shell.  Storing energy in car bumpers or airplane wings has some risk elements.  What will happen to a battery cracked by collisions on the ground or excessive loads in the air, for instance.  Nicking or puncturing existing batteries can cause flaming catastrophes. As U of M researchers note, “[Structural batteries] been a long-term goal …

Pipistrel, Honeywell Sign MOU

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

The fun part of writing this blog is receiving news of hopeful aspirations and plans for a thriving future. Taja Boscarol, one of the founders of Pipistrel, shared such news this week. “It is my greatest pleasure and honor to announce that Pipistrel and Honeywell signed an MOU(Memo of Understanding) regarding collaboration on aircraft technologies for urban air mobility.” The Slovenian/American joint venture headlined its press release, “PIPISTREL AND HONEYWELL COLLABORATE ON AIRCRAFT TECHNOLOGIES FOR URBAN AIR MOBILITY,” with the multi-faceted secondary headline, “Pipistrel and Honeywell combine aerospace expertise to address the technical, regulatory and business challenges of the emerging on-demand mobility market.”  eVTOL News lists over 140 electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft on its web site.  Early in …

Sunseeker Duo – The Uniquely Big Picture

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Solar Power, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Unique People Eric Raymond was the first person to fly across the United States on solar power in 1990 in Sunseeker 1.  He was the first to fly on the sun’s rays over the Matterhorn in 2009 in Sunseeker 2. He and his wife Irena built the Sunseeker Duo and routinely fly it around northern Italy and over the Alps into Switzerland.  Eric has more hours piloting a solar-powered airplane than anyone, and Irena is probably the most experienced female solar pilot.  Only Bertrand Piccard and Andre’ Borschberg in the Solar Impulse would have anywhere need as much time at the controls.   Janice Brown, “a…former elementary school teacher” flew Paul MacCready’s Gossamer Penguin and Solar Challenger, even achieving a record …

Beta Technologies Testing Actual Prototype

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

Kyle Clark heads Beta Technologies, an aircraft company flying under the radar until recently.  Beta’s prototype, based on an RDD LX7, uses eight electric motors driving one fixed-pitch propeller each.  These are mounted on rotating tubular arms that allow vertical takeoffs and landings with the propellers in horizontal orientation and a claimed 170 mph cruise when in vertical orientation. VT Digger, an independent non-profit journal, reports, “Using homemade flight simulators, an array of 3D printers, a machine shop, and a team of nearly 40 staff and contracted engineers, Clark has big plans for his self-funded company, which occupies a hangar and other buildings at the Burlington airport. He intends to stand out for creating an aircraft with a power system …

Sailplane-Like Boeing Cruises on SUGAR

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Hybrid Aircraft, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Boeing has sustained a decade-long program to develop aircraft that reduce the use of fossil fuels or eliminate it altogether.  SUGAR (Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research) program designers have resorted to configurations that were a part of early high-performance sailplanes, those craft that soar on the energy of the very air around them. Sailplane designers know that longer wings give a lower span loading: the weight of the airplane and its payload is spread over a greater span.  On powered craft, low span loadings give greater rate of climb for the same power and enable throttling back to get the same cruise speeds.  Longer spans usually lead to heavier structures, though.  Spars end up weighing more and wings are subject …