Solar Sailer Seeks Companionship

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Until now, all solar flight has been solo.  This is understandable, given the need for light weight and large wing areas.  But Eric Raymond is about to change this with Sunseeker III, the world’s first two-seat solar-powered airplane, shown at last weekend’s Green Aviation Show at Le Bourget Field near Paris, France.  Indoor displays were in the Musee’ de l’Air et de L’Espace (the Air and Space Museum). Sunseeker III has a roomy side-by-side seating arrangement in a fuselage derived from the Stemme sailplane.  The wing is crafted from the molds (on long-term loan) for Stuttgart University’s 25-meter (80 feet) Icare II, flown in 1996.  As Raymond explains in his blog, “Professor Nitschmann’s design firm www.sfl-gmbh.de is very friendly to our project, and we hope to work together …

An Airplane With a Familiar Rung to It

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

APEV, the Association Pour la Promotion des Eschelles Volantes, or the Association for the Promotion of Flying Ladders, began life creating Pou de Ciels (Flying Fleas)  based on a fuselage made from a popular, commercially-available aluminum ladder (“Electrified Minions of Mignet,” February 1, 2010).   The ease of construction made these a big hit in France, and the group’s latest effort, an aluminum and Diatex 1000 fabric tribute to Alberto Santos-Dumont’s Demoiselle, appeared at last weekend’s Green Aviation Show at Le Bourget Airport in Paris, France. The Demoichellec (the name comes from the use of l’echelle, or ladder, and the “ec” indicates an electric powerplant) is the latest brainchild of the APEV people.  Although legal threats caused them to give up the …

What’s Small and Green and Has Four Motors?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

At the extremely opposite end of the scale of its big brothers and sisters in the Airbus family, the Green Cri-Cri graced EADS’ (European Aeronautic Defense and Space) display at the second Green Aviation Show  (L’Aviation Verte) held at Le Bourget’s Aviation and Space Museum (Musee’ de l’Aire et de L’Espace) between June 18 and 22, 2010. LIke its bigger siblings, the Cri-Cri has four motors, two on each nose pod protruding on stalks like insect antennae from the nose of the miniscule craft and driving counter-rotating propellers.  The two small outrunner motors on each pod appear to spin with the propellers, and are probably concealed inside the spinners. EADS Innovation Works partnered with Aero Composites Saintonge and the Greencri-cri …

The Autonomous Swift

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There were two presentations on the Swift ultralight flying wing at this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium.  Dr Steve Morris of the MLB Company related the flight testing of a manned version of the craft, which had been and is being modified by a group of NASA researchers.  That NASA team presented material on the unmanned version of the Swift, as modified to allow autonomous flight.  Three industrious and inventive souls, Corey Ipollito, Paul Espinosa, and Al Weston, presented their work on the Swift Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), which they are undertaking with a small team of experts as a mostly volunteer effort at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California.  Ilan Kroo’s famous design has had many variants, including …

You Never Have to Level a Water Runway

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 2 Comments

A mild kerfuffle rustled through the mostly male audience at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium when the title of Natalie Jeremijenko’s presentation was announced. The somewhat befuddled response to “Wetlandings are the New Black: Grounding the Environmental Performance of New Flight Infrastructure,” indicated that many Symposium attendees were not GQ subscribers, or ever thumbed through their wive’s copies of Elle or Vogue. But Ms. Jeremijenko’s theme and stylishly-layered variations met with a favorable reaction as she launched into the exposition of her idea. According to her biography on the Environmental Health Clinic web site, “Natalie Jeremijenko is an artist whose background includes studies in biochemistry, physics, neuroscience and precision engineering. Jeremijenko’s projects—which explore socio-technical change—have been exhibited by several museums and …

Solar Flight at Night

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The Solar Impulse prototype, HB-SIA, will be making its first night flights within the next month, according to a June 15, 2010 press release from the project team. With eight successful flights to its credit, the airplane will attempt two critical missions according to the release: “the first night flight ever by a solar aircraft “the first ever complete cycle flight to validate the possibility of long-duration flights without any fuel” “’To fly day and night with a solar aircraft is a human and technological challenge that has never been met so far, and an essential stage of the project’, says André Borschberg, CEO and co-founder of Solar Impulse. ‘Demonstrating that we can fly a whole day and night will …

Whither Are We Drifting?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants Leave a Comment

Oxford University graduate students have been working on a yokeless and segmented armature (YASA) motor for the last several years.  The unique construction simplifies the motor and provides a lightweight (11 kilogram – 23.2 pound) unit that, as shown, puts out 40 kilowatts (53.6 horsepower).  Computer simulations show the motor could put out up to 150 horsepower, over six horsepower per pound, although the current version is being held to no more than 75 kW. Originally intended for the Morgan Lifecar, a hydrogen fuel cell powered retro-styled disguise for futuristic high technology, a pair have been mounted to drive the rear wheels of a Westfield Lotus 7 replica.  This extremely light sports car is also a retro ride, having been featured as …

MotoCzysz Takes Isle of Man in Style

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MotoCzysz, an Oregon-based builder of high-end, high performance motorcycles, won the second Isle of Man electric Tourist Trophy (TTZero – for zero emissions) race today, June 11. The MotoCzysz E1PC eclipsed last year’s overall speed for that event’s winning Agni bike of Cedric Lynch, 87.434 mph, and raised that over 10 percent, to 96.820 mph. It came close to running a 100 mph lap of the island, according to Gizmag, but Mark Miller, the Californian riding for the team, held it back to ensure a finish and a win. It did go through the traps at one point at over 135 mph. Even the Agni Z1 ridden by Rod Barber, was faster than last year, finishing second at an average speed of 89.290 …

A Swiss Swift

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Feedback, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Editor’s note: Livio Mengotti sent this comment regarding Dr. Steve Morris’s Swift’s first  flights in California, under the pilotage of Brian Porter.  (See “A Manned Swift Takes Flight,” March 1, 2010.) The videos are self-explanatory and filled with technical detail. Based on the videos, Switzerland is filled with open fields and glorious vistas awaiting aerial exploitation. Compare Livio’s undercarriage and pilot accommodations with those of Morris’s craft and the pod on Manfred Ruhmer’s Swift conversion.  Note, also, that the motor is mounted on the front of the wing, instead of behind it, as on the other two examples.  Congratulations for your performance! I built an electric Swift too. I made two flights on April 2010. I can mount and remove …

A World Distance Record Without Recharging?

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The headline reads, “EV breaks record with 1,003-km run,” but that might be a little misleading. The Kyodo News reported the following about an astonishing run made with a Daihatsu electric vehicle. “A Tokyo civic group said Sunday it managed to get an electric car to run 1,003.184 km (about 622 miles) without a recharge, shattering its own world record from last year.” “The Japan Electric Vehicle Club said it will ask Guinness World Records to officially recognize the journey, which was completed at a racing course in Shimotsuma, Ibaraki Prefecture, as the world’s longest. The vehicle, powered by Sanyo Electric Co.’s lithium-ion battery system, ran for about 27 1/2 hours until around 2:30 p.m. Sunday (actually May 22 to 23, …