Man of La Manche

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

The French call the English Channel “la Manche” (the sleeve), nicely describing the shape of the waterway  while neatly avoiding calling it “English.” Gerard Thevenot, a long-time championship-level hang-glider pilot, celebrated the centennial of Louis Bleriot’s flight across la Manche by flying his hydrogen-powered La Mouette hang glider over roughly the same route Bleriot took between Calais and Dover on August 6, 2009.  Missing the centenary by a few days (Bleriot made the hop on July 25, 1909), Thevenot took an hour and seven minutes to duplicate the trip Bleriot managed in 37 minutes. Having displayed his craft at Aero Expo 2009 at Friedrichshafen, Germany in April, Thevenot also participated in the Coupe-Icare, an aeronautical-artistic fantasia near Grenoble, France before making his …

Solar Impulse to Begin Ground Testing

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

The Solar Impulse team is ready to begin ground testing of the Airbus-size solar airplane at Dubendorf Airfield, near Zurich, Switzerland.  On October 19, the project’s engineering team handed the craft over to the flight test crew, headed by Swiss Astronaut Claude Nicollier.  First flights will be under the control of Markus Scherdel, a professional test pilot and aerodynamics engineer. Testing is scheduled, subject to weather, between November 2 and December 20, 2009. According to the project’s press release, testing will take place in three steps, beginning with a first exit from the hangar, with on-ground testing of all four (10 hp) electric motors and a thorough check of all aircraft systems. Step two will involve high-speed taxi runs, “testing …

Big Blue and Blue Sky Thinking

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

Would a 500-mile electric vehicle battery interest you? IBM, not normally thought of as a purveyor of electric vehicles, is backing a large-scale push from their Almaden Laboratory in San Jose, California, using the lithium-air battery demonstrated by recent experiments at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and the Universities of Strathclyde and Newcastle as a basis for their research.  IBM is teaming with UC Berkeley and all five National Laboratories as part of Big Blue’s Big Green Innovations program. Initially launched as a means of reducing the 98 percent of carbon emissions from non-information technology related activities and the two percent from IT activities, the Big Green Initiative took a turn in the last several months toward the development of a 500-mile battery …

Electrify Your Reading Pleasure

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

Flying Magazine, in its November issue, has its usual stunning photo review of this year’s AirVenture at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, but adds a three-page review of the electric aircraft that showed up at the fly-in.  Robert Goyer, senior editor, is enthusiastic about the planes he saw, and gives the largest number of column inches to Yuneec’s E-430 two-seater.  Goyer has reservations about the aircraft’s performance and limited range, and turns to another Yuneec-powered craft, Tom Pehigny’s FlightStar e-Spyder, propelled by a 27 hp, single-battery pack system, with the assessment that this type of craft seems more suited to electric power in its current state of development.  Although Pehigny admits restrictions in terms of range so far, he “does point out some …

Hear the Hum? Kitplanes Does.

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

Kitplanes has an article of great interest to CAFE followers in its November issue. Dr. David Ullman, Oregon State University professor emeritus of Mechanical Engineering Design, was inspired by his attendance at the Third Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in April to write a two-part article (the finale’ to be in the December issue) about the exciting future of electric flight. The first part, “Hear the Hum?” provides an overview of what’s currently happening in electric aircraft, and includes a one-page pictorial sidbar of volt-driven flying machines at Oshkosh this year by Dave Martin. In a nod to the CAFE Foundation, it includes a concise explanation of the Aviation Green Prize.  Ullman and Martin share the belief that we will be …

Buckminster Fuller Would Be Proud

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

We will need lighter structures to achieve better fuel economy, but what if the structure could also be part of the power system in a vehicle?  That seems to be one of the possibilities in this fascinating breakthrough in material science.  Graphenes are one-atom thick layers of carbon, and are the lightest, strongest structure yet achieved. Not only is this material the strongest yet found, but the nano material has tremendous promise in electronics and solar PV devices.  Consider that if it could be used to store and transmit current, a structure could be self-powering.  To what extent could this be borne out in actual graphene structures?

A Personal Introduction

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

I’ve been asked by Dr. Brien Seeley to host the blog for the CAFE Foundation, a great honor, and one which I will attempt to serve with the same kind of dedication and intelligence the Foundation board members provide in their service to aviation.  Because these postings will reflect the goals and aspirations of the Foundation, I feel a need to be as objective as possible, and to report on things that have value and benefit to people interested in finding solutions for the matters that concern all of us – aircraft efficiency, new powerplants and fuels, climate change, and possibly even things such as structural concepts and techniques that can contribute to meeting the outcomes we seek. In return, I …

A Different CAFE – But the Same Goal

Dean Sigler Uncategorized 0 Comments

Dr. Seeley has shared this link, which reports on the requested goal of achieving 35.5 miles per gallon fleet averages for cars sold in the US by 2016. Because this effort starts in 2012 under President Obama’s plan, car manufacturers will have to perform rapid shift in their product lineups to achieve these goals.   As stated in the NY Times story, “The president’s decision will also accelerate the development of smaller cars and engines already under way.” This is in harmony with goals of the CAFE Foundation, and could lead to some useful engines for high-efficiency future lightplanes.

Goldschmied Propulsion Papers Now Available

Brien Seeley Uncategorized 4 Comments

The CAFE Foundation is very pleased to offer a new array of important reports on extreme body drag reduction in its PAV Technology Library. These reports include work on Goldschmied propulsion that should prove valuable to any team planning to compete in the NASA Centennial Challenge flight competition.