Schleicher’s Sustainable Flight for Two

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

Alexander Schleicher Segelflugzeugbau (sailplane maker) has been crafting high-performance soaring craft since its inception in 1927.  Their latest creation, a two-seat, 20-meter (65.6 feet) span motorsegler, the ASG32 El, includes a 25 kilowatt synchronous motor driving a Schleicher-designed 1.55 meter (5 feet) retractable propeller.   The motor is a “home help” device, a sustainer motor to keep the ASG 32 El aloft once it is launched by a winch or by being pulled by a towplane.  The motor does not allow for self-launching.  Its low power, coupled with the airplane’s clean design, does enable a 1.3 meter-per-second (255 feet per minute) rate of climb.  The aircraft’s battery is sufficient for 20 minutes of all-out power or 100 kilometers (62 miles) …

MAGiCALL Motor/Controller Vies for Simplicity, Lightness

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

MAGiCALL, a California-based firm whose slogan, “Innovative Magnetics to Power Your Products,” covers everything from aircraft to medical applications, has introduced a combined MAGiDRIVE™ integrated motor and controller line of products.  These are of particular interest for electric aircraft designers, since the company has been picked to supply motors to the Airbus A3 Vahana project. Whatever else they may accomplish, the many multi-rotor sky taxis will create a demand for a great number of motors, controllers, and battery packs.  16 on every Volocopter, eight to 16 on every Ehang, and eight on every Vahana will promote mass production, perhaps leading to a Model T moment where such technology becomes universally affordable. What Ford did for automobiles, most of the current …

Ehang Flies One and Two Passengers in Surprising Flight Demonstrations

Dean Sigler Announcements, Electric Aircraft Components, Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

An Executive Perk Unlike Any Other Chinese firm Ehang staged a demonstration of great confidence in its 184 (one passenger, eight motors/rotors, and four arms) autonomous flight vehicle.  The CEO and all executive members of the firm, and Guangzhou government officials got rides, with many giving thumbs-up signs during their trips. Hu Huazhi, Founder and CEO of Ehang, fills us in on numbers.  Over 150 technicians and engineers worked more than 1,000 days and ran over 1,000 test flights to bring the Ehang 184 to its current level of trustworthiness.  Flights held at the Ehang test flight site in Llanyungang City show the founder using stick and rudder to control the machine.  Xiong Yifang, cofounder and CMO for Ehang, flew …

Venture Capitalists Jump on JoeBen’s Bandwagon

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

People waste billions of hours sitting on roads worldwide each year. We envision a future where commuting by eVTOL (electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing) is a safer, faster, and cost-competitive alternative to ground transportation. We have spent the last ten years developing the technologies that have made our full-scale technical demonstrator possible and are now ready to build a commercial version of the aircraft. We’re excited to have attracted the backing of leaders in auto manufacturing, data intelligence, and transportation sectors. —Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt (Green Car Congress) A Knack for Making and Attracting Money That backing came February 1st in “funding from investors including Intel Capital, Toyota AI Ventures, JetBlue Technology Ventures, and Capricorn Investment Group, a …

Vahana Flies!  Another Competitor in the Sky Taxi Airspace

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Zach Lovering, Project Executive for Airbus subsidiary A3 reports, “Today marks a historic day for Airbus, A³, and the Vahana team. We can now announce our successful first flight. At 8:52AM on January 31, 2018 in Pendleton, Oregon, our full-scale aircraft, dubbed Alpha One, reached a height of 5 meters (16 feet) before descending safely. Its first flight, with a duration of 53 seconds, was fully self-piloted and the vehicle completed a second flight the following day. In attendance was the full Vahana team, representatives from the FAA, and A³ leadership, all coming together to witness this historic accomplishment.” Hovering Autonomously With canards built in Portland, Oregon at Flighthouse Engineering LLC, the tandem-winged, eight-rotor, 745 kilogram (1,642 pound) machine has …

Battery Startup Cuberg Receives Funding from Boeing

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Cuberg, a battery startup “Founded based on graduate research work in the materials science department at Stanford,” includes individuals who worked with Yi Cui at the school.  They promote their safe electrolyte as a key element in their new battery.  “Our highly stable proprietary electrolyte enables the use of high-voltage cathodes and lithium metal anodes in a safe and reliable format.” Their video shows the relative safety of that premise.  It starts, though, with a quick review of their manufacturing techniques, which are similar to standard methods used in most batteries. The team, headed by Richard Wang, “Entrepreneur and Battery Scientist,” includes co-founder Mauro Pasta, an Associate Professor at Oxford University.  His Linked In profile includes this note: “Cuberg is …

Solid Carbon Fuel Cell May Mean “Clean Coal”

Dean Sigler Fuel Cells, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

For transportation, two types of fuel cells come to mind: PEMs or SOFCs.  A third variety, DCFCs, may have a place in transport systems, and may have advantages in using “dirty” fuels. PEM (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane – or Proton Exchange Membrane) cells use a solid polymer as an electrolyte and porous carbon electrodes containing a platinum or platinum alloy catalyst. They need only hydrogen, oxygen from the air, and water to operate. They are typically fueled with pure hydrogen supplied from storage tanks or reformers. SOFCs (Solid Oxide Fuel Cells) use a hard, non-porous ceramic compound as the electrolyte. SOFCs are around 60% efficient at converting fuel to electricity. In applications designed to capture and utilize the system’s waste heat …

Heathrow London to Charing Cross in 12 Minutes

Dean Sigler Sky Taxis, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Autonomous Flight designs and manufactures autonomous passenger drones (APD), and is based in both the United Kingdom and the United States.  Founded by Martin Warner, the company joins a growing number of entrepreneurial groups combining drone hardware and “software-based technologies” to provide rapid point-to-point transportation. Warner envisions a wide range of drone-based, battery-powered air vehicles for both commercial and private use, which he calls the “new gold rush in transportation and aviation”.  Autonomous Flight’s website promotes the familiar arguments for rising above gridlock.  The firm’s commercial notes the average American commuter spends 3.5 hours trapped in traffic every month.  The answer is the Y6S, a two-passenger drone that will whisk you from London-Heathrow to Charing Cross Station in only 12 …

When You Wake Up Hungry – Fly to the Bakery!

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Electric-Flight.eu reports on three Germans who made a bathtub fly – and used it to fetch pastries.  As the website reports, “The Real Life Guys” are two Darmstadt students and one DB train attendant who shook up the media last week . They connected a bathtub with an aluminum scaffolding and six 9.6 [kilowatt] motors (€1 065 or about $1,191[each]) from the model building sector to 42-Volt batteries and blew it up.”  “Blew it up” means lifting it skyward on the power of what look like six Hacker model airplane motors, capable of putting out 15 kilowatts (20.1 hp) each for 15 seconds.  The 9.6 kW (12.9 hp) output cited in the Electric-Flight article seems realistic for sustained output, and …

AirSpaceX is NOT an Elon Musk Company

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Airspace Experience Technologies, LLC (AirSpaceX) is a subsidiary of Detroit Aircraft Corporation (DAC), and as far as this editor knows, not related to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.  A little closer to earth, the planned low-altitude perambulations of its two creations reflect the growing interest in “sky taxis.” A Holding Company Brought Down by the Great Depression Jon Rimanelli, founder and CEO, sees Detroit Aircraft Corporation as an attempt to return the Motor City to its former glory days as a leader in aircraft development.  He notes that for a few brief years, DAC held controlling interests in the Ryan and Lockheed Aircraft companies, and created the only metal-clad airship in aeronautical history, The ZMC-2.  He explains, “Back in the ’20s, Detroit …