The Battery Pack Builder with the Ceramic Wedding Ring

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants 1 Comment

The Killacycle Racing Team is led by two people, Bill Dube’, designer, builder, and driver of the world’s fastest electric motorcycle, and his wife, Eva Hakansson, crew chief and battery builder for the high-velocity two-wheeler.  Eva’s talk at the fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium in Rohnert Park, California caused several stirs in the audience, and hinted at where battery technology might go in the future. Wanting to free electric vehicles from their “boring and slow” image, Eva seeks to make them “sexy and fast.” Pictures of her and Bill’s wedding, in which the bride wore traditional Swedish wedding garb and entered on a motorcycle, the ceremony took place in a motorcycle trailer, and for which both bride and groom wore …

Bagging Algae – Pollutants into Energy

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

For the Fourth Annual Electric Aircraft Symposium on April 23 and 24 in Rohnert Park, California, Dr. Jonathan Trent was an ideal kickoff speaker. His work with NASA Ames Research Center on converting pollutants into algae-based biofuels could have long-term effects on cleaning up our planet’s air and water, and provide byproducts that will help to feed the 900,000,000 who go hungry every day.  As he notes, “Unless we go electric, we must move to low-carbon fuels.” The problem is not a new one.  As musical satirist Tom Lehrer wrote in his 1960’s plea for emissions control, “Pollution, Pollution,” “The breakfast garbage that you throw in to the bay/They drink as lunch in San José.” Dr. Trent, a PhD. in Marine …

Summer Flights for Electraflyer X

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

According to AVweb.com, Randall Fisher of Electraflyer had his two-seat Electraflyer X on view all week at Sun ‘n Fun in the Greenspace display area, devoted to environmental consciousness and green products.  Fishman flew the single-seat Electraflyer C – a modified Moni ultralight – daily, and a team member flew the company’s electric trike regularly.  Most exciting, Fishman is projecting motor testing and test flights of the X this summer, with series production of a kit version to follow, and release of a light sport aircraft, factory-built version as soon as permission can be granted by the FAA.  From earlier discussions with Fishman, this airplane should be competitive in performance and cost with the Yuneec E-430. As icing on the cake, …

FES at Friedrichshafen

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

The Front Electric Sustainer motor system, developed by Slovenian father and son entrepreneur team Matija and Luka Znidarsic, was on display at the E-Flight Expo, part of the larger Friedrichshafen Aero 2010 show.  Both are graduates in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ljubljana.   This system, described in an earlier entry (“Power Up Front,” November 1, 2009), is meant to provide power for a sailplane that is launched by other means, such as an aerotow or winch.  Its light weight does not detract from the normal performance of the sailplane, but does enhance safety, with the pilot able to start the motor and power away into a modest climb if necessary to save a flight. In response to this editor’s naive questions, Luka responded, “No, there …

PC-Aero’s Elektra One

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, GFC, Sustainable Aviation 14 Comments

Dipl. Ing. Calin Gologan, an exhibitor and presenter at this year’s E-Flight Expo at Friedrichshafen, will be at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, discussing the design and technology he hopes will imbue the winning entry in next year’s Green Flight Challenge.   He notes that the GFC, “the world’s largest prize…awarded in general aviation,” was a major incentive in his pressing forward with an environmentally conscientious design. His Elektra One is part his PC-Aero’s ambitious campaign to fly three different electric aircraft in the next few years, the single-seat “One,” two-seat “Two,”, and most ambitiously, a four-seat “Four.” With at least the shell of Elektra One at the Expo, Gologan is making good progress toward completion of his GFC machine, the prototype for …

Gérard Thevenot Wins E-Flight Award at AERO 2010

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

With over 30 electrical flight exhibitors at Friedrichshafen, Germany’s Aero 2010 International Exposition for General Aviation, selection of this year’s E-Flight Award winner must have been particularly difficult. The”E”of the E-Flight portion of the huge show represents, “Electrical, Ecological and Evolutionary.” Thevenot’s machine is all those. Gérard Thevenot flew his hydrogen-powered ultralight “trike” across the English Channel in July, 2009 (“Man of La Manche”, October 29, 2009), with a Geiger/Eck HP-10 electric motor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell, “without the onboard presence of an accumulator or battery.” Showing his 55 kilogram (121 pounds), seven kilowatt (11 horsepower), 12 meter (37 feet) span ultralight at last year’s Expo, he went on to demonstrate its capabilities in the following months. Its …

Solar Impulse – the Movie

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Solar Impulse’s first flight was recorded and edited in fine style, which we share here, courtesy of the Solar Impulse project and YouTube. Note the apparent crosswind on landing, and Marcus Scherdel’s masterful handling of it. Note also that both outboard motors are shut down during the landing. A mere zephyr has a large effect on this beautiful, large, extremely slow craft. As the project’s backers note, the airplane has the size of an Airbus, the weight of a compact car, and the power of a scooter.

An Hour and 27 Minutes in the Sun

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The press release and pictures tell a beautiful story.  The CAFE Foundation offers its congratulations to the Solar Impulse team. This morning (April 7, 2010) at 10:27, the Solar Impulse HB-SIA took off from Payerne (VD) airfield on its maiden flight. Under the eyes of thousands of spectators from all over Switzerland, Solar Impulse HB-SIA slowly climbed up to 1200 meters. The next 87 minutes Solar Impulse test pilot Markus Scherdel spent familiarizing himself with the prototype’s flight behaviour and performing the initial flight exercises before making the first landing on the Vaudois tarmac. The execution of these various manoeuvres (turns, simulating the approach phase) was designed to get a feel for the aircraft and verify its controllability. “This first flight was …

Biofuels, But at What Cost?

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Jasmine Green, writing in Care2 Causes.com (“The future of Biodiesel Fuels“) , explains that all is not as it seems in the quest for clean fuel alternatives. Many of the biofuel plants noted in this blog (see “EQ2 Has a High Fuel IQ”, February 11, 2010) are indeed being grown and are producing oil for fuel, but, as reported in Care2 Causes, at a cost to the overall environment. Citing Treehugger.com, she notes that Brazil is seeing ranchers being displaced to make way for the planting of oil-bearing plants, and that ranchers move further into the rain forest and deforest the area to raise cattle. This indirect deforestation contributes, according to Ms. Green, to 41 to 59 percent of all …

The Future is Electric, and Attracting Attention

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

FlightGlobal.com, the online version of Flight International Magazine, has an overview of the electric aircraft scene in its April 6, 2010 release.   Among the many producers and proponents of electric flight noted in the article, Dr. Brien Seeley of the CAFE Foundation is quoted extensively, as is Calin Gologan of PC-Aero in Germany, both to present at the fourth annual Electric Aircraft Symposium, at Rohnert Park, California on April 23 and 24.  The article ponders the hopes of two hybrid electric aircraft powerplant developers, George Bye, featured in a February 21 entry in this blog, and Flight Design’s Oliver Reinhardt, the firm’s technical director.  Both face the issue of retrofitting existing light planes with their new engines, and the challenge …